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Posts Tagged ‘sir keith mills’

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Our resident offshore soloist and francophonic rigger Ryan Breymaier checks in from the Nautic, with the first real piece of IMOCA news since Keith Mills Open Sports Management announced it would be trying to increase the commercial appeal of the world’s marquee offshore monohull class.  Their first move:   A series and a promo.  Here’s Ryan’s take.

 The Paris boatshow is France’s biggest non-sailing maritime event of the year. All the movers and shakers in the yachting industry are there for a show that’s open for 10 days over two weekends to offer maximum opportunity for visitors to discover the latest in industry news and developments.  Historically the crowds are huge from start to finish and so I was very happy to attend the ‘pro’ day, reserved for media and maritime professionals the Friday before the start of the show.

They weren’t wrong, though they say the show was smaller than previous years, there was everything you could want for a boat or boat-related; from the fashionable blow-up SUP to a wood carving knife to information on the Corsican classic regatta to the brand new one-design flying cat… but more on that later…

What I’d come to hear was the joint press conference between Open Sports Management (OSM) and the FNOB.

OSM is the company created in 2013 and backed by Sir Keith Mills to commercialize and internationalize the IMOCA class.  As part of their role, they will create new races and manage the racing schedule. They will also actively seek title sponsors for the class and assist skippers in seeking their own sponsorship.

Until now, the IMOCA class has been skipper controlled and has acted as the governing body of the class of open 60 boats used for the Vendee Globe and Barcelona World Race.

On Friday, at a joint press conference with the FNOB who organize the Barcelona World Race, OSM announced the “OCEAN MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIP” along with the inaugural NEW YORK-BARCELONA RACE, starting June 1st, to be held every 2 years.

The Ocean Masters Championship is effectively the new name for what was previous known as the IMOCA circuit.  The championship will still run over a four year cycle and there will still be a points ranking amongst the skippers, based on placings within the full schedule of races on the racing calendar. The name was chosen because out of over 50 people asked every day at the race village prior to the Transat Jacques Vabre, not one member of the public could say what IMOCA stands for. (International Monohull Open Class Association).  Sir Keith explained the new name like this (more or less): “Short-handed ocean racing is a sport that is based around the skippers. In no other sport do people race 24/7 in such tough conditions for up to 90 days non-stop. The racing is about the skippers and so the circuit is called Ocean Masters.”

The New York- Barcelona Race is really great news for anyone interested in seeing more major offshore events in the US.  Bringing the boats to the USA in the springtime will finally provide US sailing fans the chance to get up close and personal with these amazing machines, as well as providing an excellent opportunity for US companies to get into sponsorship of shorthanded ocean racing.

The race will be managed jointly by OSM and the FNOB who have already a good experience with organizing a race from New York.   The program has the boats going to Newport RI at the end of May with a race to NYC with media onboard each boat on the 24th. There will be a race village at North Cove Marina and a Grand Prix on the Hudson River on the 26th. Race start is on June 1st.

The potential is huge for the first American sponsor to get involved; both in terms of the marketing opportunities offered by the race start in New York, as well as beginning a long term relationship in a sport with undeniable values and an incredibly captivating story to be told in the lead up to the Vendee Globe 2016, singlehanded, nonstop around the world.

I am working hard to be on the starting line for the race and this latest news creates a great starting point for a sponsor willing to accompany me in my quest to be the first American winner of the Vendee Globe.  We are certain there is a company out there for whom this is the perfect opportunity to expand their reach, both in the US and in Europe; it’s just a matter of finding them in time to be on the start line.

Finally, to help you all navigate the future of IMOCA (just so everyone’s got the jargon right):

Open Sport Management or OSM promotes the IMOCA class worldwide.

IMOCA manages the technical side of the class. This is still skipper-run and this is where the decisions about one-design, etc. are made.

OCEAN MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP is the new name of the racing circuit,

FNOB is the organizing body of the Barcelona World Race.

-Ryan

 

December 11th, 2013 by admin

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As temperature plummet and ski areas begin to open their lifts, we bring you some interesting movies from the still-beating heart of the sport.

 

Project USA

We’ve made no excuses about our enthusiasm for offshore racer Ryan Breymaier, who may just be America’s only real hope at a major US sponsor and top US result in the Vendee Globe.  The Annapolis native became the first American to break into the French offshore scene in memory, working as rigger and shore crew during Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Open 60 and MOD campaigns, and taking the helm of the generations-old Neutrogena to finish 5th in the non-stop(ish) Barcelona World Race.

Thanks largely to Larry Ellison, America is more attuned right now to sailboat racing now than it has been since 1987.  Between the wonderful AC72 final, a recent HBO Sports documentary on Alex Thomson, and the soon-t0-be-released Robert Redford singlehanded blockbuster “All is Lost”, if there has ever been a time for a US-based racer to push for a major sponsor, the time is now.

Fortunately the good folks at 5West know all that — that’s the Sir Keith Mills-backed agency that handles Thomson’s Open 60 management and the Hugo Boss sponsorship contract — and they’re throwing their hat in with Breymaier.  5West hopes to use their contacts and experience to land him a budget for next year’s Barcelona and 2016′s Vendee Globe, hopefully waking up the largely untapped American market to IMOCA style racing.  Anyone who cares about offshore racing and the US should head over to the Project USA site to find out more.  And if you’d like to see an American effort in the next big race and your company (or an affiliate) is looking for some innovative sports/green marketing, get in touch with them right away!

 

Americans of the Americas

With just one day left of the first-ever F-18 Championship of the Americas, the Dutch are hanging on to a slim lead over longtime SA’ers Tripp Burd and Mike Easton from New England, who are wicked close to the front as the breeze picks up for Saturday’s racing.  Here’s Friday’s highlight skylight reel from Sam Greenfield.

 

American Gold

America’s continued waning on the world sailing stage is certainly depressing to those who remember the dominating days of the star-spangled banner.  Embarrassing performances at the past few Olympics, yet another Volvo failure, sparse appearances on sailing’s biggest podiums, and the sole US players at the recent America’s Cup consisting of a tactician who got the flick, a helmsman long since booted, a CEO who disappeared in disgrace, and a lone US grinder who drank from the Cup.

But all is not lost, and America can now claim not only to have the world’s best sailing website, some of the world’s best sailing videographers, and even a recent Moth World Champ: We’ve also got the world’s best match racer!

We’re speaking of course of Taylor Canfield and his USone team.  They didn’t repeat as Bermuda Gold Cup champions this year, but they did exactly what they needed to do in order to cement their lead at the top of the WMRT and the ISAF rankings: Crush Ian Williams.  They did it, and here’s the video that proves it; produced, shot, and edited by Matt Knighton.

 

50 Shades Of Greenpeace

By now everyone knows what scumbags the folks at Gazprom are, and while no one thinks that morally-challenged ISAF is going to do anything about the knife-and-bottle-wielding thug and Esimit Europa shore crew who attacked peaceful Greenpeace protesters, it seems international outcry over the Arctic Sunrise arrests has finally accomplished something. Russia announced the imprisoned activists (along with two journalists) would now face charges of ‘Hooliganism’ instead of the Piracy they previously were threatened with after staging a sit-in on an Arctic drilling rig; while Piracy carries a 15-year sentence, “Hooliganism” presumably carries a different charge – that is, if it is indeed a crime and not just something made up by former KGB officials to suit their needs for the moment.  It’s not much of a stretch – time and again, Russian officials show they care about laws only when it suits them – as evidenced last week when they announced they’d boycott next week’s hearing into the arrests called by the UN-chartered International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; the Russians said they ‘not intend to take part in the tribunal’s hearings’.  How convenient.  Regardless of the outcome of this gas profit-fueled shitshow, Gazprom ain’t leaving sailing anytime soon.  Sponsorship hunters: Be careful what you wish for and even more careful who you are linked to.

The silver lining?  All this excitement gives us a nice excuse to show you a gorgeous video of Greenpeace’s new sailboat; the one we first  reported on back in 2010. Movie produced by Heath Hanson.

 

 

October 26th, 2013 by admin

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Gunboat 60 sailing in Annapolis, MD.