The latest edition of the Vendée Globe was a huge sporting success which highlighted the thriving nature of the IMOCA class and the exciting possibilities on the horizon for yachts and teams. The next date in the diary: The Barcelona World Race 2018-19.
The IMOCAs are in great health. The latest generation of boats, equipped with the revolutionary foils, will take to the starting line of the upcoming Vendée Globe alongside esteemed veteran yachts dating back to the last century, as well as a core block of middle-aged yachts, showing that this class has longevity. Results from recent races have confirmed the success of new regulations and there’s an exciting technological future ahead. Let’s take a look…
Eating well during a double-handed round the world regatta is one of the pillars of racing success. The foods must not only cover the skippers' dietary needs, but also form the basis of vast logistical operation, involving water, energy and boat performance. Jordi Griso, sports coordinator of the FNOB sailing crews tells us all about it in this video from the Barcelona World Race Ocean Campus.
Since the Volvo Ocean Race started in October the daily routine in the Farr Yacht Design office changed with everyone pouring over 3 hourly scheds to check the progress of the Volvo Ocean Race. Even the slightest slow down or unexpected maneuver has our team looking at news feeds and watching for text messages and emails while hoping it is just a cloud or an obstruction or a tactical decision and not some major damage or crew injury. Most the time these blips have been minor issues with the exception of the Team Vestas Wind grounding, which within hours was about as serious as it gets.
The physical requirements to complete a round the world regatta such as the Barcelona World Race are exceptional. That's why the medical check-ups prior to the start of the race include an exercise test. In this video you can find out how Aleix Gelabert got on with his at the Hospital Quirón Teknon.
Satellite detection is key in both locating the position of ice and but also in terms of reliably predicting where the ice may drift. This is a fascinating field with many applications beyond its use in the world of sport.
Out on the oceans, the doctor is at a distance. Videoconferencing and the Medical Guide form the foundations of telemedicine, a discipline in itself, requiring the use of cutting-edge technology and a strict code of communication. In this video, Dr Belén Gualis, the medical director of the regatta, simulates a long-distance medical consultation with Dídac Costa, skipper on One Planet, One Ocean, Pharmaton.
Race Direction monitor the Barcelona World Race crews around the clock, 24 hours a day, tracking the boats’ progress virtually minute by minute, mile by mile around the world, to – hopefully – Barcelona. They keep the various MRCCs (maritime rescue and surveillance organisations) updated throughout the race. And in times of crisis they are the first point of contact for the skippers and the teams, and thereafter coordinate any actions required.
Without doubt Nandor Fa is an enigma when it comes to sheer fight and determination, but the 61 years old Hungarian skipper is totally unique in the world of IMOCA 60 racing in having designed his boat himself, and built a lot of it. He is a self taught designer, although he spent time in the 1980’s in the design office in Australia of Ben Lexcen not long after his successful wing keeled 12 Metre Australia II had won the America’s Cup. Yacht design, he asserts, is his hobby, his way of relaxing from the pressures of his business (designing and installing marinas). As well as the three 60 footers he has designed he has a number of smaller yacht designs in his native Hungary.
Stewart Hosford runs one of the biggest and most prominent IMOCA race teams through the 5 Degrees West company, which in this instance look after Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss and Neutrogena, the Farr design which took third in the Vendée Globe in the hands of Alex Thomson. Hosford joined Alex Thomson just before their slightly turbulent start to the last Barcelona World Race. As well as expanding and optimising their commercial interests, he was instrumental in the changes which massively improved reliability, ensuring that Alex brought an older, but well proven IMOCA 60 on to the Vendée Globe podium, thereby producing a much needed race result just on time. Hugo Boss have committed to Alex for the foreseeable future, ensuring that he now has a new Hugo Boss – a VPLP-Verdier design – in build.
Ken Way is a prominent English sports psychologist who brings experience of many different team and solo sports to his work in extreme solo and short-handed round the world and Transatlantic racing. The challenges of racing as a duo, not just seeking to perform at the highest level over a period of 90 to 100 days but actually co-habiting in a small, confined space whilst also experiencing extremes of discomfort – wet, damp, tired, hot, cold, emotional and physical exhaustion –, are all part and parcel of the Barcelona World Race. Here he gives an insight into how he helps the relationship between the two skippers work.
For the pairs of co-skippers the Barcelona World Race itself may only span some 90-odd days at sea but behind the scenes in the Catalan capital the planning and preparation which goes in to ensuring the race is safe, it is fair, it is commercially viable and it is followed all around the globe, continues year round, almost seamlessly from one edition to the next.