Barcelona hosts for the first time the board meeting of the IMOCA class worldwide
From the 12th to 13th, Barcelona hosted the board of the IMOCA class globally, it’s the first time that this meeting has been carried out outside Paris and the Barcelona world Race 2018/19 organization has been taken an important role in the IMOCA agenda. Officials, organizers, and sailors pointed out that the new format of the race - with a stopover in Sydney - has a sport value added that complements the calendar and encourages the internationalization of the class.
Antoine Mermod, President of the IMOCA, gather at the FNOB headquarters (Fundació Navegació Oceànica Barcelona) the council members with some of the most important personalities of the class and representatives of the race: Hervé Favre, Event Director of OC Sport, organizers of the Ruta del Ron and the The Transat; Gildas Gautier, General Director of the Transat Jacques Vabre; Laura Le Goff, Director General of the Vendée Globe, and Xosé-Carlos Fernández, FNOB CEO, organizer of the Barcelona World Race. Stewart Hosford and Marion Cardon attended on behalf of the OSM.
The main objective of the working day was to take stock of the success of the past Vendée Globe, to review the calendar and rules of the class, and to prepare the next big challenge for the World Championship: the Barcelona World Race 2018/19, the round the world race will star on the 12th of January of 2019.
Antoine Mermod was very pleased with the intense meetings held and also to work together for the success of the Championship and the Barcelona World Race: "We have been working on the preparation of the next Barcelona World Race. We have a positive energy and a great confidence that we will achieve a successful race, such as the exceptional Vendée Globe we have experienced".
Xosé-Carlos Fernández, FNOB CEO, emphasized the importance that IMOCA had celebrated the board in Barcelona and the full integration between the FNOB and the city in the development of the class: "We all share the objectives and this is a great news. We have a huge variety of similarities and only a few differences. After the success of the extraordinary Vendée Globe, we started the countdown to the Barcelona World Race with the satisfaction of being active members of a World Championship. We all feel identified and perfectly represented".
At the closing of the board David Escudé, Commissioner of Sports of the Ajuntament de Barcelona and FNOB President, thanked the IMOCA members for having held their board in the city, which has become one of the capitals of ocean sailing after the success of the three editions of the Barcelona World Race: "It is for us a pride that you have decided to come to our city. For us, those who had the dream that Barcelona and the IMOCA class went hand to hand, it is very important that you are here preparing what I believe will be the best edition of the Barcelona World Race. Some years ago anyone would have thought it was a crazy fantasy but now is a reality."
A format that adds value
The new format of the Barcelona World Race has been one of the main themes of the meetings. the Barcelona World Race will have two parts, Barcelona - Sydney and Sydney - Barcelona, and the sum of times for both legs will establish the final ranking. The Australian city will be a mandatory stopover, where teams will be able to carry out technical repairs and replace the co-skipper if desired. "We have talked a lot with the skippers," Mermod said, "in general everybody agree that the Sidney stopover is really positive and add value for the race. Also the fact that the race has two legs allow participants to replace eventually a co-skipper".
Conrad Colman, a member of the IMOCA Board Council and a sailor who has sailed the last Barcelona World Race and Vendée Globe, shares the opinion of the class president: "The new format is fantastic, it is good for attracting new audiences and it can attract so many sailors. In the calendar, the two races around the world complement each other very well, and today we have worked so that both will benefit to the fullest. Of course, I hope to be on the way out on January 12th, 2019”.
The complementarity between the two legs of the world race is also a value shared by Laura Le Goff, Vendée Globe Managing Directror, who was really glad about the joint work between the organizers of the championship races: "There is a natural approach to the organization of The Barcelona World Race and the Vendée Globe, and both wants to harmonize all things and move forward together. We believe that the new format, with a stop in Sydney, will facilitate the internationalization of the class, which benefits us all. On the other hand, sporty, the two rounds of the world complement each other very well”.