In 2014, the IMOCA World Championship has been rechristened the Ocean Masters World Championship. This new name reflects the desire to internationalise and further develop the circuit – a circuit already recognised as the world’s foremost for shorthanded offshore racing.
This newly branded series is based on a number of world famous oceanic races in which, for several decades, the sporting endeavours and heroic achievements of its participants have, frequently, turned skippers into superstars. The Vendée Globe, Barcelona World Race, Route du Rhum, Transat Jacques Vabre, Rolex Fastnet Race...around the world, across the Atlantic, double-handed or solo, ….all of these challenging events attract a strong media following, and huge crowds at start and finish race villages.
The Ocean Masters World Championship will also comprise a series of new events aiming to take the fleet to new territories, visiting new venues thereby attracting new sponsors, teams and skippers to the class in turn increasing media value, The first new event was the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona Race, which started from New York on 1 st June 2014.
A new format for the championship aims to tie together events in the series, growing its media value and enlarging its international fanbase, by improving the communications during racing using state of the art technology platforms, including more onboard footage and mobile applications. Through this, the sailors’ extraordinary stories from the high seas can be better conveyed, thereby secure more following and media attention.
With the Barcelona World Race and the Vendée Globe alternating every two years over a four year cycle, a new World Champion is crowned every two years, at the end of these round the world races, that represent the pinnacle of the series.
To become World Champion, a skipper will need to have accumulated the most points in the Ocean Masters World Championship events over the preceding two years, these events each having a coefficient based on their difficulty.
IMOCA champions have proved through their results, that they are great sailors and skilled racers, but also experts in weather, as when we are talking about IMOCA races, routing and external assistance are forbidden. They also need to be successful business leaders, as they have to set up their projects, work with the top specialists in their field and manage their teams, before they find themselves alone facing the elements. Skippers claim that a solo win is something that is prepared by crew racing and they know how to share their passion for ocean racing, their happy and sometimes sad adventures both with those around them and the general public. The means of communication that are installed on board help them in this role as communicators and mean that today they are certainly not remote, while at the same time are champions.