IMOCA and its new projects
The IMOCA Annual Assembly dealt with its new commercial development projects and the new rules at the same time the class gears up for the Vendée Globe. Chema Benavides took part in his final assembly as a member of the administrative board after four years of work.
Paris hosted the IMOCA Annual Assembly on the 26th of June at the French Sailing Federation headquarters in the capital. The main business at the meeting was to continue to debate issues raised at previous assemblies in Barcelona and Le Havre, centred around the commercial development of the class and the evolution of the class rules. Luc Talbourdet presented two reports at the Assembly which laid out a schedule of action to be taken over the coming months.
Commercial development of the class
The first area of development is with the company 7Seas, based in Shanghai and represented by Aventure Océane and deals with development of the IMOCA Class in China. The second item of business with Sir Keith Mills, Deputy Chair of the London Organising Committee for the London 2012 Olympic Games, concerns the commercial development of the IMOCA for the coming five years. In reference to this, all members of the class have unanimously approved a protocol document designed to create a new commercial structure for the IMOCAs, based on an agreement with Sir Keith Mills. The new agreement will be drafted over the next few months and further details will be released about the project ahead of the upcoming Vendée Globe.
Luc Talbourdet, President of the IMOCA Class said: “We've been looking to improve the commercial structure of the class for some ten years now. The dynamic of this sponsorship association with Sir Keith Mills offers us an extraordinary opportunity to continue to develop the class and to add extra value to our exceptional events such as the Vendée Globe and the Barcelona World Race”.
Sir Keith Mills added: “After being actively involved at the heart of this class for many years, I'm very motivated by the possibility of supporting its evolution. I've always seen the Open 60 regattas as a fascinating sport and it really is incredible for me to be involved in its future development. I firmly believe that with well-adapted commercial structure IMOCA will maintain and develop its position as the leader in the offshore sailing classes".
In terms of the evolution of the rules, the two existing projects were discussed and presented: open and one-design. The Assembly greeted the quality of the reports presented with great satisfaction, although they were not put to a vote, as decided at the Administrative Board Meeting on June 9th. Although all of the elements needed for a decision have been collected, the decision was taken to close the debate and to give priority to the preparation of the upcoming Vendée Globe which begins on the 10th of November. In the usual IMOCA fashion, the subject will be taken up again once the round the world solo challenge is over, and the experience of this will be useful for the preparation of the Barcelona World Race.
New Administrative Board
The Assembly has placed its trust in Luc Talbourdet and Jean Le Cam yet again; both members of the former Administrative Board and reelected as part of the current board. Vincent Riou and Armel Le Cléac'h have also been chosen and will join Alex Thomson, Bernard Stamm, Pascal Chadail and Antoine Mermod to form a new IMOCA Administrative Board which will be chaired for the seventh time by Luc Talbourdet. Talbourdet had some words of praise for Dominique Wavre and the work he's been doing for IMOCA since 1999. The skippers will continue to be key in decisions taken for the IMOCA class and the new Administrative Board is determined to follow through with the projects that have been launched already.
Final Administrative Board Meeting for Chema Benavides
This IMOCA Assembly was the final meeting for Chema Benavides as a member of the Administrative Board. Chema has been working at the very heart of the class over the past four years and has been an active member and an exceptional witness of Spanish offshore sailing's incredible progress in recent years. The great Spanish yachtsman and trainer is very happy with the change in the dynamic of the class in recent years: “The work of the FNOB has been crucial in the weight that Spain now pulls in the IMOCA Class. We have prestigious sailors at the top level and experts who are setting trends and will be key in the development of this class”.