The Ocean Race have confirmed the 2021-22 edition will have a stopover in Auckland, New Zealand. As the fully-crewed, round the world race approaches its 50th anniversary, it will be returning to New Zealand for the 12th time. All but one of those stops have been in Auckland.
“We consider Auckland to be the spiritual home of the race, with a legacy built on the legends of such iconic New Zealand sailors and race winners as Sir Peter Blake and Grant Dalton, and now leading into a younger generation with Peter Burling, Blair Tuke and Bianca Cook,” said Richard Brisius, Race Chairman of The Ocean Race.
“Every time we come here, we see the Kiwi fans passionately celebrating the incredible efforts the world’s best sailors undertake to realize their dreams and ambitions in The Ocean Race, and in turn the crew members appreciate the warm welcome and hospitality they receive here.”
The Auckland stopover comes ahead of one of the most difficult legs of the event, as the fleet will race out of the protected waters of the Hauraki Gulf and dive into the southern latitudes toward the famed Cape Horn.
Kiwi sailors have long written the stories of their careers in this remote part of the world and this time will be no different. Bianca Cook, who competed in the last edition of The Ocean Race on board Turn the Tide on Plastic, is leading a campaign in the VO65 class for the 2021-22 race.
The 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race will feature two classes of boats – the innovative, foiling, IMOCA 60 class, along with the one-design VO65 boats, which produced the close and compelling competition of the last race.
“It’s fantastic to have confirmation that The Ocean Race will be coming back to Auckland,” Cook said. “It’s great news for our campaign to have certainty that we will be coming ‘home’ for a stopover during the race.”
Cook has purchased the VO65 race boat she competed on in the last race and transferred it to New Zealand where it is being refurbished and readied for her newly established team’s race around the world.
“It’s been an exciting few months and our campaign is really beginning to take shape now,” she added. “With the confirmation the race is coming to Auckland, it’s all systems go for us and we’re working towards getting the boat in the water so we can start our training around New Zealand soon.”
Burgeoning Kiwi legends Peter Burling and Blair Tuke competed in the last edition of the race on separate teams. Fresh off an America’s Cup win in Bermuda with Emirates Team New Zealand, the pair became rivals for the first time, with each looking to become the first sailor in history to claim the ‘triple crown’ with wins in the Olympics, America’s Cup and The Ocean Race.
But both would have to settle for a podium position with their respective teams, leaving for unfinished business with The Ocean Race. Now juggling renewed America’s Cup commitments with a campaign to defend their gold medal in the 49er class at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Burling and Tuke expressed enthusiasm about Auckland again hosting The Ocean Race in 2021-22.
“For both Blair and myself, participating in the last edition of The Ocean Race was a life-changing experience,” Burling said.
“Racing offshore improved us as sailors and allowed us to experience the natural world in a way we hadn’t before. It’s fantastic to hear The Ocean Race will be returning to Auckland for the next edition, following on from the America’s Cup. Although the Cup and the Olympics are our immediate priorities, both Blair and I would love to be involved in the race again.”
The Ocean Race stopover in 2021-22 will be located along the Viaduct Basin with the exact location and facilities to be defined following the America’s Cup in 2021.
“Investment by Auckland Council through Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development helps shine the spotlight on our region’s ability to host events of this magnitude,” shared Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. “The last time we hosted an Ocean Race stopover we had nearly 500,000 visitors to the village hub, creating a huge sense of vibrancy.
“The $6 billion local and central government investment in the transformation of Auckland’s city center, and the construction of a new waterfront precinct for the 36th America’s Cup, will create a lasting legacy for Auckland and help us fulfill our role as New Zealand’s international city. This visit will complete an incredible year of international events for Auckland.”
The 14th edition of The Ocean Race is scheduled to start from its home port in Alicante, Spain in Q4 of 2021 and finish in Genoa, Italy in June of 2022. The full Race Route will be determined in 2019. Auckland, New Zealand joins Cape Town, South Africa; Itajaí, Brazil; Aarhus, Denmark; and The Hague in The Netherlands as confirmed Host Cities, along with Cabo Verde, which will be the first West African stop in the history of the Race.
The Ocean Race (formerly The Volvo Ocean Race), scheduled to start in 2021, will be raced in two classes of boats: the high-performance, foiling, IMOCA 60 class and the one-design VO65 class which has been used for the last two editions of the race. Entries in the IMOCA 60 class will compete for The Ocean Race trophy, while those racing the VO65s will chase the Ocean Challenge Trophy.
While we wait for the full race route, organizers had previously revealed there would be up to nine stopover ports. Here’s what has been confirmed so far:
• Alicante, Spain: This historic Mediterranean port will host the start for the fifth consecutive edition in the autumn of 2021.
• Aarhus, Denmark: The course comes to the east coast of the Jutland peninsula during the spring of 2022, following a popular ‘Fly-By’ of the city during the final leg of the 2017-18 edition of the Race. Details.
• The Hague, Netherlands: This city along the North Sea coast will welcome the race for a third consecutive time, first coming as a ‘pitstop’ on the final leg of the 2014-15 edition and as the final finish port for the 2017-18 race. Details.
• Cabo Verde: More accustomed to having offshore teams sail by, or stop for repair, this archipelago of ten volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean will become just the second African venue the race has ever visited and the first West African nation to host the event. Details.
• Genoa, Italy: As the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, this first-time race host is Italy’s largest sea port yet remains full of grandeur as the gateway to the Riviera while offering weighty architectural heritage. Details.
• Itajaí, Brazil: To the south of Rio de Janeiro, Itajaí was founded in the mid-19th century by German and Italian colonists, and is now the commercial centre and Atlantic port for an agricultural region drained by the Itajaí River and its tributaries. Details.
• Cape Town, South Africa: Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town, as the oldest urban area in South Africa, was developed by the United East India Company (VOC) as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Located at latitude 33.55° S, it’s approximately the same as Sydney and Buenos Aires and equivalent to Casablanca and Los Angeles in the northern hemisphere. Details.
• Auckland, New Zealand: European, Polynesian, Asian, and strong Maori heritages give Auckland its distinctive culture. Located in the North Island of New Zealand, it is the most populous urban area in the country with an urban population of around 1,570,100. Details.
• IMOCA – Team Malizia (GER)- Boris Herrmann (GER)
• VO65 – Racing For The Planet (POR)
• IMOCA – Paul Meilhat (FRA)
• IMOCA – 11th Hour Racing (USA) – Charlie Enright & Mark Towill (USA)
Source: The Ocean Race