In a recent interview with Tip & Shaft, Johan Salén who, with Richard Brisius, is co-owner of The Ocean Race, talked about the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the 2021-2022 edition of the crewed round-the-world race.
Salén thought that if the race did not take place in 2021 the most likely choice would be to postpone for one year, but not more, that would be too long.
He confirmed that they were in full discussion with the sponsors, the teams and the cities, to make a decision on the next edition as quickly as possible – in order to remove the uncertainties for all those involved in the race.
He expected that they were going to try to make an announcement in the next few weeks, if not the next few months.
And, while as organisers they could easily arrange for the race to take place on schedule in 2021, some teams were still looking for sponsors and at present that was quite impossible.
The same went for the cities . . . some were ready, but it was maybe better to wait until after the summer.
Salén claimed that twenty teams were registered to date, but that was not a picture of the reality because some of them would not succeed in getting their funding.
Equally, though, there were also interested teams that are not registered.
In the 65-foot division, there were eight groups working towards a start. Bearing in mind that in the last race that the organization controlled seven of the eight boats and they were all sold to teams who wished to participate in this edition.
Two of these teams were now 100% funded. The others had part of their funding.
In the IMOCA class he was a little surprised that they had not managed to get more momentum among the existing fleet that was preparing for the 2020 Vendée Globe.
Nevertheless, Salén said that they had expressions of interest from teams who are not in the IMOCA class today from many countries: France, Italy, Holland, China, Spain, New Zealand, United States, England and Germany.
These were all projects seeking funding, but who intend to be on the starting line.
But the Covoid-19 pandemic had made a problem for the teams that had planned to build a new boat for 2021, it was now too late.
They must find solutions to buy boats or cooperate with existing teams.
The pandemic has made it much more difficult for everyone to find money. At present it was almost impossible to discuss things with sponsors.
That uncertainty was a negative.
But when comparing things to previous editions . . . when you looked at the number of serious groups who wanted to participate and who were building teams and talking to sponsors, there were three times more than in the last two editions.
That was incredibly positive.
The Ocean Race Registered Teams – 3 June 2020
W Ocean Racing (NED)
NZ Ocean Racing 22 (NZL)
Ocean Racing GMBH (AUT)
Sailing Poland (POL)
Swedish Team (SWE)
Team Baltic (LIT)
Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team (POR)
Team Mexico (MEX)
Offshore Team Germany (GER)
11th Hour Racing Team (USA)
Spanish Team (ESP)
TR Racing (FRA)
Paul Meilhat (FRA)
Team Malizia Ocean Challenge (GER)
French Campaign (FRA)
Tigress Racing (GBR)
China Sports (CHN)