On the occasion of the Ocean Race’s arrival in Genoa, we would like to talk about this historic competition and why its arrival in our city is such a significant event.
For nearly 50 years, it has kept an almost mythical hold over some of the greatest sailors and been the proving ground for the legends of our sport.
The first edition took place in 1973-74 with the name of “Whitbread Round the World Race” after its initiating sponsor Whitbread: in fact, according to legend, this competition was born over a beer in a Portsmouth pub between Colonel Bill Whitbread, representing the brewing family and Admiral Otto Steiner, one of the founders of the race together with Guy Pearce and Anthony Churchill.
From 2001 the ownership of the race was taken over by Volvo and Volvo Cars and the race was renamed the “Volvo Ocean Race” until this edition called “The Ocean Race”.
Usually the competition took place every 3/4 years, but Covid-19 have caused the need to postpone the start of the 14th edition only in 2022. The last one started in 2017 and it was the closest in history, with three teams virtually tied, approaching the finish line. After 126 days of racing spread across 11 legs, the winning margin for Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team was only 16 minutes. The top three teams were separated by just four points.
This edition represents a new era for the event, in fact there will be two classes to compete: the 60-foot Imoca (from the acronym “International Monohull Open Class Association”) that represents the Formula 1s of the seas and the VO65 fleet compete in a shorter format of the competition, The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup. Having two classes means greater visibility for the brands and a technological challenge as well, which makes The Ocean Race the toughest and demanding sailing regatta in the world.
Genoa has decided to invest in The Ocean Race the most authoritative event in the field of sport and sustainability to make it the pillar of a territorial activation and legacy project which the climax will be reached with the completion of the so-called “Genova Process” that will lead to the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights to be submitted to the ONU by the end of the year.