The Ocean Race


Imoca Globe Series championship event
© Bernard Le Bars/Alea
© ©GauthierLebec/Charal
© Free to use for all editorial in conjunction with 11th Hour Racing coverage. For questions contact i
© M Keruzoré / 11th Hour Racing-ALAKA'I / Défi Azimut
Start date


Format5 crew members + 1 on board reporter
Distance38 000 milles (70 376 km)
Race trackAlicante, Cabo Verde, Cap Twon, Chenzhen, Auckland, Itajaì, Newport, Aarhus, The Hague, Genoa
Race directorPhil Lawrence
OrganizerThe Ocean Race
IMOCA reference timeNC


The Ocean Race is often described as the longest and most extreme sports event in the world. Formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race then the Volvo Ocean Race through until 2018, the famous crewed round the world event with stopovers has just been rechristened The Ocean Race. The first edition dates back to 1973-74. Back then, seventeen crews (six of which were French) took the start from Plymouth of a four-leg round the world race.

Twelve editions later, the race proved to be an emotional rollercoaster ride once again with the closest finish in its history. On 24 June 2018, the crew on the Chinese boat Dongfeng Race Team skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier took the win in The Hague (Holland), just 16 minutes ahead of the Spaniards on MAPFRE after 45,000 miles and nine months of racing around the globe.

Raced on VO65 one-designs in 2014-15 then again in 2017-18, the next edition is scheduled to start in Alicante (Spain) in 2021-22 and heralds the arrival of the foiling IMOCAs helmed by five sailors accompanied by an on-board reporter. Meantime, the VO65s will begin their third circumnavigation of the globe with the emphasis being placed on youth teams and mixing of the sexes. Several skippers from the IMOCA class have already expressed an interest in The Ocean Race 2021-22, including German skipper Boris Herrmann (registered), Frenchmen Paul Meilhat and Thomas Ruyant and the Briton Alex Thomson.