The president of the IMOCA class analyses the new model of international ocean sailing
Antoine Mermod chose the Barcelona Ocean Sailing Foundation (FNOB) headquarters to present the new IMOCA Globe Series championship and the recent agreement with the Volvo Ocean Race.
Antoine Mermod, President of IMOCA, chose the headquarters of the Barcelona Ocean Sailing Foundation (FNOB), being the organisers of IMOCA races in Spain and a member of the IMOCA general assembly, to share the details of the new model that is surfacing in international ocean sailing today. A paradigm driven by the new IMOCA Globe Series championship and recent agreement with the Volvo Ocean Race, as well as the next edition of the Barcelona World Race (2022-2023).
Following the President of the FNOB and Commissioner of Sports of Barcelona, Marta Carranza’s words of welcome, Mermod presented the IMOCA as "World Sailing’s leading oceanic class” and highlighted its "strength in terms of top-flight professional sport, media coverage and technological innovation". He reminded that the Barcelona World Race is one World Sailing’s sole seven Major Oceanic Events.
Far from focusing exclusively on sailing, the President of IMOCA added, "the Class is committed to addressing environmental issues", and stressed that the Barcelona World Race had led the way to proactive engagement by using the race as a platform for scientific studies. The IMOCA class is now an ambassador of the Ocean and Climate program, led by Catherine Chabaud, just as the Barcelona World Race was an ambassador of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.
In terms of technological innovation, Mermod emphasized the priority of safety developments, in addition to efficiency: "Any innovation that improves safety of the skipper is automatically incorporated into our regulations".
A key market
Spain’s relevance within international ocean sailing has grown steadily over the past decades, thanks to important IMOCA races such as the Barcelona World Race, the Vuelta a España a Vela or the New York to Barcelona race, and to the start of several Volvo Ocean Races from Vigo or Alicante. It therefore seemed natural that IMOCA should hold its public presentation in Barcelona, at the FNOB headquarters.
Mermod pointed out that Spain is a key market in the development of ocean sailing and the IMOCA class in particular, stressing the importance of the FNOB and the Barcelona World Race in promoting the sport of sailing: "The FNOB is a partner of choice for IMOCA to grow its international profile through the Barcelona World Race".
Mermod addressed the agreement with the Volvo Ocean Race, which establishes that IMOCA60s will compete in the next two editions of the fully crewed round-the-world race with stops. "This agreement opens the door to extraordinary opportunities to develop the international profile of ocean sailing, particularly in Spain. Bringing more skippers, more teams, more stakeholders, and increasing ROIs," he concluded.
Officials of the city’s institutions, political representatives of the City Council, as well as the nautical community and the nautical and general press, attended the conference.