The Global Ocean Race, set to start on September 25th with the first leg of Mallorca, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa, has just announced that this running of the race will have six confirmed entries. There were a many as 19 initial entries, but the Race Committee has pared those down to the six it feels are best qualified to race this time around.
from the press release: Over the past three months, the harsh reality of securing offshore yacht racing sponsorship in a fragile and unpredictable financial environment has come sharply into focus for the teams in the double-handed, Class40 Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR). In the early summer, 19 teams were officially entered and this number has gradually been reduced to six confirmed entries for the 2011-12 circumnavigation.
As official organisers of Class40 round-the-world racing until 2016, 90 per cent of the withdrawn entries have requested a slot on the start line of Josh Hall’s single-handed and double-handed Class40 Global Ocean Race 2013-14 allowing the teams to re-group and plan well-funded and competitive campaigns. While this determination by the skippers is encouraging, it highlights the immense struggle and effort that can often hamper teams.
Josh Hall, Race Director of the GOR, explains the circumstances facing the teams: “As very hands-on race organisers we have been assisting teams seeking sponsorship and putting their projects together as much as we possibly can during the last two years,” says Hall. “Class40 is very much an owner-driver class with the skippers generally seeking sponsorship only to cover the operational budgets of their campaign,” he continues. “Whilst this creates a highly-affordable and cost-effective sponsorship profile, the reality of many GOR teams not being able to secure sufficient funding at this late stage is a sign of just how tough the market is in these volatile and unpredictable economic times.”
For Hall, the impact of the financial climate has also touched the event’s overall funding: “We ourselves have not been able to secure a title sponsor for the event, so we fully understand the position our withdrawals have found themselves in,” confirms Hall. “We were naturally thrilled to have such a strong entry list just a few weeks ago, all bona fide projects that met our entry criteria, and we are of course disappointed that the fleet has been reduced at this stage, “ he comments. “However, we have an exceptionally talented group of international sailors setting-off in September, so we anticipate a highly competitive event. We are also delighted that most of the teams that have been forced to withdraw this time are targeting the GOR 2013-14.”