Bringing round the world racing back to the UK
Southampton and the Solent, famous as the starting venue for some of the greatest ocean races of the past 50 years, has been chosen to host the start of the revamped Global Ocean Race 2014-2015.
Announcing this today, organisers of the GOR and of the PSP Southampton Boat Show also confirmed that the event’s race village will be part of the boat show prior to the race start on Sunday 21 September 2014, enabling tens of thousands of visitors to get a close up view of the Class40s yachts that will average speeds, through the Southern Ocean, faster than most of the boats in the famous Whitbread races of old. It is planned that the GOR sailors will also complete their circumnavigation in the Solent and will finish the race in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, in June 2015 is under consideration.
Speaking at the Tullet Prebon London Boat Show today, race organiser, Josh Hall, confirmed that the 31,000-mile race will again follow the classic Southern Ocean route around the world.
"The boats have proven reliability and are incredibly quick and we are extremely proud to bring the race to the home of Southern Ocean racing," Hall said. The third edition of the GOR will make its first stop in Cape Town, with its base at the stunning V&A Waterfront Marina. From there it will head down to New Zealand and/or Australia, with stops in South America and Charleston, USA, before finishing back in The Solent. The Australasian and South American stopovers are currently in negotiation.
Also announced today are the names of a new Steering Board for the race, brought in to help raise the profile, boost sponsorship and give the race the importance in the sailing calendar that its members feel it now deserves.
Chairman of the Steering Board is Julian Mounter, a former CEO of three major broadcasting organisations; a former Times journalist and the driving force that pieced together the financing of Team New Zealand, and, earlier, was instrumental in the funding of the successful Whitbread campaign of Grant Dalton in New Zealand. Mounter was also Senior Media Consultant for the first two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Harold Anderson will head up GOR Broadcast and Internet production. He is a top television producer who was in charge of programming for two of the recent Volvo Ocean Races and has also overseen coverage of several Olympic Games for, among others, the BBC.
Mark Howell will head up GOR Media and Public Relations. Howell was charged with maximising coverage for London throughout the London 2012 Olympic Games and was Press Officer for the RYA during the 1996 Olympics and from 1997 to 2001 and PR Director for the British Olympic Association at The Olympic Games in both Japan and Sydney. He was also Head of Media for the Volvo Ocean Race 2001-02 and 2005-06.
Acquiring strong sponsors is an essential part of sport events and Chris Witty joins the GOR team bringing extensive experience from the world of sports sponsorship. He has been involved with sponsorship and team management in Formula 1, World Championship rallying, Le Mans and hybrid racing, working with F1 legend Eddie Jordan, and is the youngest ever team owner to win a Grand Prix. Witty has also been an offshore powerboat racing team owner and series promoter with multi world champion Steve Curtis MBE, and was responsible for coordinating Richard Branson's Atlantic Challenge powerboat and balloon adventures. Working with Witty will be Event Organiser and former ITV and BBC Natural History Unit Producer/Director Megan Lander.
Hall said: "Ocean Racing is the pinnacle of our sailing sport. It is exciting, challenging and an enormous adventure, but in recent years it has been diluted because of the need to attract wealthy sponsorship from countries not on the classic routes. With three new classes (fully-crewed, two-handed and single-handed), we expect to attract a substantial fleet. Entering this race is affordable for many who could not afford to enter some of the other existing events and we also believe the GOR returns ocean racing to the days when amateurs could take on the professionals.”
The GOR also announced the first of its sponsors for the 2014 event including long term offshore racing supporter, bluQube; Formula (1) Design, part of Team Concise and developers of a new One Design Class40; Akilaria, producers of the prolific Akilaria Class40 design who have been staunch GOR supporters since its inception and PSP will take the role of GOR logistics partner.
At the Tullet Prebon London Boat Show, Celox Sailing, also confirmed that the Austrian-based company - which operates a unique sailing business with six departments including a sailing academy, sail loft and yacht servicing - will continue sponsorship of the GOR for the 2014-15 race and will be entering the double-handed division of the GOR with Class40 GustBuster.
Each of the countries where there will be a stop is to have a number of well-known sailors or those who are in some way connected to the sport and distinguished in other arenas as GOR Ambassadors. From the UK, single-handed sailing legend Pete Goss, MBE has accepted the role of Ambassador.