The Ocean Race, the sailing race that will change Genoa
To sailing afficionados, The Ocean Race legendary and the most famous crewed race around the world. Just six months to cross the most remote and challenging seas on the planet, 32,000 miles in the most difficult waters: for its 50th edition, from January to June 2023, it will take place for the first time in the Mediterranean, in Genoa, Italy.
By Bettina Bush Mignanego01 septembre 2022
This is an important goal in many respects, and it is no coincidence that it received the Presidency of the Council of Ministers’ patronage: "It will be an exceptional opportunity for the city," says Marco Bucci, the mayor of Genoa, who is also known for his determination and for the quick construction of the Morandi Bridge. "We were in competition with Taranto, and we have shown our credibility. I am also a sailor; this is a unique event. Moreover, it is a high-level sporting challenge, which will have an immediate economic impact and will offer long-term visibility to the city; one euro spent will generate three in the short term; and one euro will give seven after two or three years."
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A dream long pursued, to which he now adds with satisfaction, "We believed and we succeeded. We played to win and it went well. Let's not forget that there has always been a lot of sailing in Genoa. The Italian Yacht Club is number one in the Mediterranean, second in Europe, and we have a sailboat that was born right here, called the Genoa."
The Ocean Race will change the city of Genoa
It is a high-level sporting challenge, which will have an immediate economic impact and will offer long-term visibility to the city
Marco Bucci, mayor of Genoa
A sporting event that will infuse an evolution to the city: "Genoa is a city in a phase of transformation, but not in a one-way direction, we are an industrial city, of high technology, of logistics, which with the Ocean Race will become much more touristic. Then there is high technology, with large industries and an excellent supply chain of small and medium-sized companies. With tourism, there is a great potential for growth, people come to Genoa to discover things that nobody has talked about before. We are rich in palaces that few people know about, we have more catalogued works of art than Florence, although many are in warehouses. Genoa is much more than a tourist city."
For the "Grand Finale", from June 24 to July 2, 2023, Genoa's new Eastern Waterfront will be made into a village, the Ocean Live Park, with a hosting capacity of 350,000 tourists, transforming the arrival of the boats into a gigantic event: "There will be the sports part, with conferences, events, local regattas," continues the city's mayor. We will talk a lot about sustainability, the Decalogue for the protection of the oceans, prepared by international academics, which will be presented in September 2023 in New York at the United Nations. Not to forget the whole sustainable blue economy, as we intend for example to completely decarbonize the port of Genoa."
When talking about ocean racing as a sailor, Marco Bucci emphasizes that it has a unique charm because of the confrontation with the immense force of nature: "We always lose, the sea and the wind rule and put us in a situation of inferiority, but you learn a lot. Yet there remains a dream that could come true: we still don't know if there will be an Italian boat. We are working on it, we will pursue it until the last day. In fact, we are calling upon all Italian sailing enthusiasts to network, and let’s not forget that great visionaries are those who know how to invest in times of crisis."
The sports event must be the heart of a project that starts much earlier and does not end with the last day of the competition, but leaves a legacy of tangible assets
Evelina Christillin, Chairwoman of the Grand Finale’s steering committee
Returning to the ocean race, and explaining the importance of such an event for a country, Evelina Christillin, Chairwoman of the Grand Finale’s steering committee, who was also Vice-chairwoman of the 2006 Winter Olympics organizing committee in Torino, now Chairwoman of the Torino Egyptian Museum Foundation: "Major sporting events can be an important opportunity for development and visibility, provided the local population is involved and informed from the beginning and that we keep in mind the legacy intended to be left behind, both tangible and intangible. The sports event must be the heart of a project that starts much earlier and does not end with the last day of the competition, but leaves a legacy of tangible assets. The countdown has begun, Genoa and Liguria are ready to receive the sails of the world. Sustainability, environment, courage, sharing, equality, respect, are the watchwords of this Ocean Race."
With less than 300 days before the start, Luca Di Liberto, the event’s Destination Manager and sailing expert, tells us about the more technical aspects: "This edition is organized by Richard Brisius, the Chairman, and by Johan Salén: they are relaunching it without the presence of a main sponsor, an important commitment, each boat requires several million euros, and about two years of preparation. We expect 12 to 14 crews, for an event that requires a global investment of 40 to 50 million euros."
It will be a particularly spectacular edition from a communication point of view. He goes on: "We will see remote places with spectacular shots taken by drones. There will be long stretches without stops: I'm just thinking of the 14,500-mile stretch between Cape Town and Itajaì in Brazil, in an area where the waves reach 4 or 5 meters, pushing boats and men to their limits, at top speeds of 40 knots." There will be two classes, the VO65s and the IMOCAs, capable of reaching the incredible speed of 600 miles in 24 hours: "They will pass through an Antarctic sea called Point Nemo, the furthest place from land in the ocean, 2,400 kilometers from the first land area, which is closer to the astronauts on the International Space Station than to any other human being on Earth, and they will truly be in the middle of nowhere."
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