2023 Ocean Globe Race: Classic Challenge under review
Following the first announcement of the 2023 Ocean Globe Race in July 2019, owners of Whitbread 60's and a few maxis lobbied the organisers for their own modern class to join this 50th anniversary celebration event of the very first Whitbread race. After months of discussions with interested owners the Classic Challenge was announced, and six teams began early planning and ongoing discussions with two reserving entry positions.
While many teams have since demonstrated interest for the Classic Challenge and continue to do so, organizers have not yet received entry deposits guaranteeing the fleet is sizable enough to provide a competitive, interesting race, alongside the "Retro" class of the OGR.
With time running out for refitting racing yachts ranging from 60 to 80 feet for a round-the-world project, the Founder Don McIntyre has decided that the interested entries have until January 1st ,2022 to put in a refundable deposit to secure their place in the classic challenge.
Should the race organizers fail to secure four deposits by January 1st, 2022 to guarantee a healthy and competitive class, the Classic Challenge will be cancelled.
With a growing list of Mediterranean OGR entries, Don and the team were invited to Marseille last month to discuss with the Société Nautique de Marseille the candidature of the city as home port of the Ocean Globe Race .
Marseille, France's leading port, located at the crossroads of the world's maritime routes, is the natural gateway to southern Europe. It is also a premier sailing site for the region, hosting various competitions this year such as the iQFOIL European Championship or the 50' trimaran Sail GP. The city has also been chosen as the sailing site for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
"Whilst it would alter the traditional 'Clipper Ship Route'' if selected, the great connection of the city and the natural beauty of the site with world-class sailing infrastructures makes Marseille an interesting option." Said Chairman and OGR Founder Don McIntyre. "Four EU ports are now considering this opportunity with a decision scheduled for the first quarter of 2022."
The OGR Mediterranean entries do not lack enthusiasm, nor expertise.
The latest entry from Italy is Guido del Pozzo's Kanenas. After a long string of lovingly restored wooden Classics up to 24 meters including two Sangermani and a 1937 W. Fife Jr., Guido was after a boat more suitable for long-distance family adventures and bought a ketch-rigged 1981 Swan 65 in 2013, Kanenas.
Guido had not heard about the OGR until entrant Marco Trombetti offered to purchase Kanenas to compete in the retro round the world race organized by Don McIntyre. Passionate discussion ensued and Guido, instead of selling, decided to enter the race!
"This is still a family trip" says Guido, "as I plan to sail with my wife Aurelia and our daughter Alizée, but the adventure just got bigger, and I had to surround myself with the right people."
Team Kanenas is built around a wealth of local expertise, including sailmakers, prominent Italian racers, ex-America's Cup Luna Rossa team members under the leadership of Andrea Henriquet, participant to the 81-82 Whitbread on board Rolly Go as official skipper and Guido as team leader.
They will take advantage of the notorious Med and Aegean winter weather to continue the selection and training process of the 30 sailors planned to take part in this round the world adventure. The boat is in great shape and will enter a refit early 2022 at Cantiere Navale Seri for a full refit program consistent with the retro rules of the OGR.
Their goal? Race the other Swan 65 in real time and fight for the lead in Sayula Class!
The Spanish entry, heeding from Barcelona is less of a family affair, but the conjunction of kindred spirits and complementary expertise around a common project and a shared dream: sail around the world, the retro way.
OGR Spanish entrant Marc Miró, a commercial Captain by trade and Mini 6.50 sailor by passion, is a consummate ocean lover who first entered the race with no boat and no team, just to get a chance to be in. Marc was joined by Amancio Macia an Ocean Yachtmaster with 120.000 miles of experience including two round the world Clipper races, bringing the organizational expertise to take a full crew around the world.
Frenchman and Barcelona resident Jean-Christophe Petit joined the crew, bringing heaps of experience in offshore racing, currently sitting at the second place of the Transquadra 2021. The onboard doctor Guillermo Canardo has competed twice in the Mini-Transat 6.50, he is an emergency doctor, a World Sailing survival course instructor, and spent the last three year in rescue operations in the Med with the Open Arms NGO.
The four of them will be joined by various "rounders" and "leggers" who will bring their time and expertise where needed: sailmakers, rigging and engine specialists, videographers, and multitasking sailors, all sharing their time (one week per leg) for the refit prior to touring the European offshore classic races as training.
The project has gained incredible momentum in Barcelona, bringing together various players of the sailing community such as the Club Maritim de Barcelona, the Federation of Oceanic Navigation of Barcelona (FNOB) offering boat building students to work on the refit, the Veles per Alzheimer association, while insuring the help of French surveyor, naval architect and well-known AC and Figaro sailor Laurent Cordelle for the refit.
White Shadow, a S&S designed Swan 57 is the smallest of the Sayula fleet, but as JC puts it "It is the only S&S Swan ever designed specifically to compete in the Whitbread race, so we are planning to give the big boys a run for their money!"
The Ocean Globe Race team will be exhibiting at Boot Dusseldorf in Hall 17, from January 22 to 30, 2022 and will hold a Press Conference to introduce attending OGR entrants.
An Entrants Conference to discuss latest planning followed by an OGR owners' dinner is planned. New owners considering an entry are also invited. Details to be announced shortly.