The Barcelona World Race is already thinking about and working on its third edition.
The Barcelona World Race 2010/11 is now history. The third edition for 2014 is moving in and it's already well-positioned for the success of the previous edition. The regatta has exceeded all of the sporting and broadcasting expectations set following the first edition of the competition. International offshore sailing has a newly-consolidated round the world event with an even broader projection for the future.
The 28 skippers making up the 14 teams are the key players in this success. Themselves, their shore crews, their communications teams and sponsors believed in an event open to the world, that transmitted the values of a sporting and human challenge, constituting a natural progression from offshore sailing's big challenges and values incorporated into every aspect of the IMOCA class.
The Barcelona World Race has climbed onto the shoulders of giants. The extraordinary success of solo races, such as the Vendée Globe, the undisputed Everest of sailing, or transatlantic challenges such as the Route du Rhum - La Banque Postale, The Artemis Transat and the Transat Jacques Vabre form an exceptional sporting platform, which has without any doubt made the birth of this non-stop, two-handed, round the world regatta possible, not to mention its successful development over the past three years. We will continue to work towards this success, to expand the world of offshore competition so that the resulting internationalisation will demonstrate the force of the extraordinary sporting and human model the Barcelona World race is set within.
The two-crew round the world race has also attracted sailors from many different countries who have made their debut in the class and in this type of regatta, but above all the Barcelona World Race has seen the confirmation of an emerging fleet of Spanish sailors, most of whom have joined the IMOCA class during the past two years. 13 sailors, making up some 46% of the entire fleet (in 2007 there were 4 sailors, 22% of the competitors), most of these well consolidated in other sailing specialities. They have taken on a challenge that will define their professional careers and will create a promising basis for future growth.
A well-established format, open to change
14 teams took the start and 9 managed to complete the regatta, 64% of the fleet, a larger proportion of entries reaching Barcelona than in the first edition of the race, where 55.5% of the starters actually finished. It's clear that double-handed sailing puts the IMOCA Open 60 equipment through added pressure, boosting the technical and sporting values of the Barcelona World Race. The regatta has also shown that the presence of a second crewmember is a factor which benefits boat maintenance in order to achieve the overall objective of completing a round the world regatta. That is a dimension that all of the skippers have marked out as beneficial to the evolution of the class. The pit-stops: technical stopovers allowed during the race, subject to certain conditions within the regatta rules, and in this edition made by five of the finishing teams, also have an influence on the finishing figures and are one of the key questions being looked at by the Barcelona World Race in terms of its future format.
A regatta for the World
The Barcelona World Race 2010/11 has meant a leading international sporting event which has achieved the highest levels of coverage across different sectors of the media. Following the 27 days of the Barcelona World Race Expo in the Port of Barcelona, the regatta was brought to life on land through exceptional multimedia coverage, thanks to communications technologies specially developed for its coverage.
The best tracking ever for a round the world event
The Barcelona World Race had in-house technology to guarantee the best ever communication for a round the world regatta. The investment in innovation allowed daily videoconferences with an average of three boats per session, which translates into over 130 hours of live streaming on the regatta website. 314 videos were received from the boats, as well as over 800 photos and 565 emails.
Technological development applied to this edition of the race in terms of telecommunications also set a milestone on the 3rd of March 2011 when the Barcelona World Race became the first ever round the world regatta to be broadcast live from Virbac-Paprec 3 as the entry rounded the legendary Cape Horn (Chile).
The regatta in schools
The Barcelona World Race Educational Programme is also one of the pillars of the success of the scope of the regatta, as well as of the human and educational values of the sport of offshore sailing. This edition was followed live by over 6,000 students from 132 educational centres in five different regions of Spain. The videoconferences were followed by 1,641 students from 22 centres and the 'Live Ocean - Live planet' poster competition had 6,356 students entering from 85 schools. The Educational Programme blog received some 29,772 visits and some 4,834 teachers and students took part in activities promoting the race.
48,189 players in The Game Barcelona World Race
The Game Barcelona World Race, the regatta's virtual online game, was developed by the Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona in collaboration with the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. It is an in-house 2D-3D independent product which can be used in other regattas and will also be constantly evolving and improving.
It is made up of free software which allows players to compete under identical conditions. For the most recent Barcelona World Race players used the same UGRIB meteorological files sent out to the boats taking part in the regatta, as well as the same average performance values of a real IMOCA Open 60.
48,189 virtual players signed up for this Barcelona World Race and the iPhone Application for the game was number 29 on the top downloads list at the Apple Store, with over 3,000 downloads within the first two days of being in the store.
An event with exceptional coverage
The broad and excellent response to the Barcelona World Race 2010/11 from the general public and the media has generated some exceptional viewing figures.
Over seven million people visited the regatta website, with hits on 37,341,779 pages; 360,000 videos were watched at the official You Tube channel and over 4,100 articles and news items were published. TV coverage generated 72 hours of news and programming stretched as far as 200 different countries.
Facebook news in Spanish, Catalan, French and English received more than 17 million "likes", and comments hit the 38, 095 mark. On Twitter the regatta news was followed by 3,082 followers.
2014: the bar is high
The bar for the 2014 edition is very high. The evolution of the IMOCA class is leading to a full immersion into sustainability challenges that the Barcelona World Race has already been promoting and which the regatta seeks to develop even further in the immediate future. Research and development on boats with zero emissions through the perfection of energy sources from things like hydro-generators, solar panels and kinetic generators are going to be crucial for totally clean sailing and will provide an effective testing ground for future global development.
At the level of telecommunications, we will be working towards the maximum possible coverage of the round the world teams. This is one of the highlights of this edition and it is also a key aspect of broadcasting offshore competitions at every level around the world. The success of the virtual game is also progress and will enjoy continuity, with the same philosophy of free access and education. The latter is an area that the Barcelona World Race will also continue to develop, taking the core values of ocean sailing into schools, because that is exactly where the bright future of this extraordinary sport lies.