The round-the-world ocean race formerly known as Volvo is in for a big change. The organizers of the yet-to-be-titled event, which is no longer managed by Volvo, have announced that foiling Open 60s have been invited to sail in the next event. The agreement means the Volvo-as-was will be the only fully crewed around-the-world race sailed in the IMOCA 60 boats, which are usually crewed by one or two people.
These exciting foil-assisted boats have notched up daily runs of over 500 miles with just one crew, and if fully crewed can be pushed even harder.
The news came just days after the epic finish of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, which featured the closest racing in the 45-year-old event’s history. No title sponsor has yet been announced for the next race. Originally sponsored by the Whitbread brewing company, the first race was held in 1973 and for many years was split into two classes.
Although the organizers have said nothing about the fate of the Volvo 65s that competed in the last two editions, it’s possible that they too will be on the start line if there’s a return to class racing.
Unlike the one-design nature of the last two Volvos, the IMOCA 60 boats are designed and built to a box rule. They are capable of high average speeds—Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss currently holds the singlehanded distance record of 536.8 miles in 24 hours.
Designers and organizers have only just started to hash out the details of this momentous marriage between two different disciplines of ocean racing—the shorthanded style that has such a huge European following, and the fully crewed Grand-Prix events that allow the boats to be pushed harder for longer.
There’ll be more news in the coming days, but in the meantime, we will leave you with this video of Hugo Boss strutting its stuff as a preview of what to expect in the next fully-crewed race.