The 2014 editions welcomes Yvan Griboval’ SolOceans OD
mercredi 8 juin 2011 –
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It will allow sailors, both men and women, to race solo around the world on a level playing field. Thanks to its reasonable and controlled budgets, a good number of skippers and sponsors of all nationalities will therefore be able to take each other on using the same weapons in this unique adventure around the world.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the British sailing legend, remains without doubt the great pioneer of international offshore racing. He was the first man to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation (1968-69). 42 years later, innovating once again, Sir Robin continues his work as a pioneer and leaves his indelible mark in the history of international offshore racing. In 1982, 13 years after his unbelievable exploits on his 32 foot boat, Sir Robin created the first true solo race around the world (the BOC Challenge which has now become the VELUX 5 OCEANS) and competed on Open 40, 50 and 60 foot monohulls, which gave birth to the IMOCA 60, 50 and the Class 40.
Four years ago, Sir Robin created the Eco 60 Class in response to the difficulties encountered by international skippers faced with budget restrictions with sponsors. It gave a new lease of life to the old, but reliable and proven, prototypes. It is a novel concept of sustainable development in the world of ocean sailing. And despite a small field of entries, the 2010-11 VELUX 5 OCEANS has proven that the Eco 60 Class can produce exciting and fast top-level racing.
Today, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston goes even further in his efforts to open up racing solo around the world to aspiring solo skippers. He welcomes the SolOceans One Design Class on the start line of the 5 OCEANS 2014-15 alongside the Eco 60 Class, believing the lighter, smaller 52.5-foot machines will complement the larger Eco 60s.
The SolOceans Class is a 52.5 foot high-tech carbon one-design yacht (16 meters), which has been designed by Jean-Marie Finot and Pascal Conq, with Michel Desjoyeaux as Technical Consultant of the Class. This monohull, imagined by Yvan Griboval (SailingOne), was conceived and developed between 2006 and 2010, thanks to the feedback provided by 25 leading offshore skippers who sailed onboard the first boat during the course of the 30,000 nautical miles covered in its test circumnavigation of the planet.
"The 5 OCEANS has an incredible 29 year heritage. It is the oldest solo race around the world still in existence today” said Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. “Like the America’s Cup and the Whitbread (which became the Volvo Ocean Race), we are adapting to the global economic environment in evolving the type of boat we accept to compete. In the America’s Cup, the J Class took the place of the 12M JI, which then became the America Class and now the AC72 catamarans. The Whitbread-Volvo Ocean Race also adapted itself in changing its classes over time. From our side, we innovated with the Eco 60 Class. We started this approach to favour more modest budgets from 2005, even before the financial crisis hit in the summer of 2008. We are now taking this strategy even further in launching this new category of high tech round the world boats in collaboration with Yvan Griboval (SailingOne) and Jean-Pierre Champion (FFVoile).”
"The SolOceans One Design Class will offer skippers and their sponsors a fantastic opportunity to race around the world on an equal footing, increasing further the emotional intensity of the adventure to the benefit of the general public.” explains Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
Yvan Griboval, President of SailingOne, creator of the SolOceans Class, has also achieved an important objective :
“After five years of hard work and more than €4.5 million invested, the integration of the SolOceans One Design Class to the prestigious 5 OCEANS is a recognition which opens a new page in international offshore sailing, in the tradition of great maritime adventures which Sir Robin Knox-Johnston has maintained since his first circumnavigation in 1968. We are proud to participate in this new approach for the future. It is the culmination of an immense amount of work.”
“The offshore sailor I was and the businessman that I have become can only rejoice that today there is the possibility to offer young skippers and small companies the opportunity to access the highest sporting level : competition on a level playing field on the one hand and one of the hardest ocean routes in the world on the other. Three boats of the SolOceans One Design Class are already built. Construction will recommence again at the start of next year to ensure that five to eight boats are on the start line of the 5 OCEANS 2014-15.”
The route and the host ports for the 2014 edition of the 5 OCEANS will be announced at a later date.
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