Hi to all,
All the best for the festive season just past. Good luck for 2021! Let’s hope it is a little softer than 2020.
This is the first of what will become regular OGR Entrant updates. Normally it is sent exclusively to actual Paid-up Entrants. This first edition is also going to some previous sailors and owners who have simply enquired about joining the OGR. It is a communication to update entrants on latest developments and as we move closer to the start, provide important and timely information and event Notices. Each will be numbered so you can be sure they are all received. Over time you may wish to make a unique file as you may want to refer back to them.
OGR2023 Entrants Facebook Page
A closed group Facebook page will open on Friday 15 January. Only paid up OGR entrants can join this group. This is a PRIVATE GROUP only available to OGR Entrants Owner and designated Skipper and declared Campaign Manager. You will need to supply the name of those three before we can approve them in the group. This will become a good feedback area to meet other entrants and give opinions or make comments. You will be able to post on any relevant OGR topic and we can answer questions there. I know some may not like or use Facebook, but it can be a useful tool and we use it as part of our OGR management. We encourage you or your representative to join this select OGR Family Group. Search OGR2023 Entrants to join. The public cannot see any posts, comment or know who is in the group. It is strictly private.
A year ago when the first hint of Covid appeared in China, I said to Jane my Chinese wife, be ready this could be a big one! I was working in Les Sables d’Olonne at the time, Jane in China. One month later we could see what was happening and decided to hold all marketing and boat show promotion of the OGR until it settled down. We are still waiting! Our first start up Press Conference was scheduled for Les Sables on 1 Dec 2020, but was suddenly cancelled due to lockdown. Next attempt was Italy on 26 January 2021, followed by Helsinki end of February, UK end of March and Les Sables early May. All have since been postponed until we have a clearer picture.
In the meantime, entries continue to arrive at a consistent rate even though very few sailors around the world know about the OGR! Many new boats have been purchased specifically for the OGR. We have Multiple Yachts on waitlists for Adventure Class and Sayula Class, with just one place vacant for Flyer Class. Two Maxis are now committed to the Classic Challenge and many V60 and W60 teams are talking about joining. For them decisions may be needed soon as on 10 September 2021 class restrictions are lifted, so yachts on the waitlist may claim any empty spot on that day up to a maximum fleet size of 34. (We are bringing forward the date when class restrictions will be dropped from 1 January 2022).
Demand for OGR entries in all classes will be high once we commence our OGR marketing in the weeks ahead. WE are expecting to have four yachts on Waitlist very soon. Knowing you all, I can say that the OGR family is rich in colour, incredibly diverse and full of interesting warm and passionate humans. It is fantastic and from Jane and me, thanks for supporting the OGR with such strength and enthusiasm and also individual offers to support the organisation!
All listed Entrants have paid their initial 25% entry fees and some their full fees on time. Some have not yet submitted their actual Application for an Invitation to Compete and many have not provided magazine quality photos of themselves (without sunglasses) or their entered yacht. We now need them. Those still to comply will receive an email request in days. We need your help for this to be able to promote you and the OGR. Some who have previously sailed in a Whitbread or Volvo Race may also have historic pictures and videos you could share with us? If you have an historic yacht, maybe previous owners may give you access to their historic photos or films? We would LOVE to receive copies and it will help us a great deal. Videos of your Whitbread experience as crew would be gold for us to inspire others and tell your story! Thanks for helping.
During the Covid year, we have maintained contact with key Host Ports who expressed early interest since first becoming aware of the OGR. That Passion remains. Others have asked for delays in these challenging times and some we know are budget stressed, unable to continue meaningful discussions. We are however very confident that the Start Finish port will be signed in the second quarter of this year and the course defined in a similar timeline.
OGR Notice of Race
This will now be issued no later than second quarter of 2021 all except for the final Classic Challenge rules. These will only be completed after discussions with the first four official paid up Classic Challenge entrants. We are not expecting any major changes with issues that would materially affect any entrant currently undertaking their refit Program, or medium-term planning. If you have any questions, you can always contact us for clarifications. If you have NOT read the Pre-Notice of Race other than when it was initially issued late 2019 please do. There have been quite a few alterations to make it easier to comply with rules without compromising safety. WE are still open to feedback and we encourage your comments. Once the NOR is issued, it is VERY difficult to change. If you feel strongly about a particular subject, we welcome your opinion. WE are very protective of the OGR concept and safety regs, but happy to listen and have already reacted to very good input from entrants. Still a few months left for constructive comment. Thanks.
You will be allowed to have Autopilots and Windvanes fitted to your yacht for the OGR. They will be considered Emergency Equipment and their use will incur a relevant time penalty yet to be determined, but for now you can keep existing, or fit new Autopilots. Auxiliary Rudder windvanes will meet the emergency steering requirement of the OGR. Also be aware that any electronic equipment currently fitted to your yacht, that does not comply with OGR rules, do not need to be completely removed, but must be effectively disabled, such that a critical component should be unplugged and stored is a security sealed bag carried onboard.
Our logistics partner will be managing container transport from the start port (or your home port) to the halfway port. Shared space for entrants will be available for all or full containers facilitated. An airfreight crew bag drop system will be available from each port to the next for crew items not carried onboard.
OGR Web Update
If you have some latest news, or an update on the status of your OGR yacht or entry, team or crew, with any magazine quality photos, we invite you to write a Maximum 500-word update, to link with your OGR website entry listing. We will also use that to determine which entrants we will feature in upcoming Press Releases. Please forward these to Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org We look forward to hearing your story.
Regular OGR PRESS Release
Our mailing list includes approx. 2500 International media outlets. I would encourage you all to make contact with your local media organisations and tell them your OGR story. If you have specific local or international media contacts that you would like included in our general media list, you can forward the contact details to Jane at email@example.com We will be scheduling regular six weekly press updates, starting in a few weeks once we have received your information.
OGR Logos and Sponsor Document
If you have not yet received a copy of the Official OGR Logos and style guide, or the official OGR Sponsor Document which you may be able to use for your own efforts please message Jane and she can forward that to you.
OGR LIVE Facebook Interviews
We would like to commence monthly LIVE interviews of OGR owners or even skippers on OGR Facebook. It is all very simple. We forward you an email link to open at a set time. You are waiting in your office, house or yacht with a good internet connection and preferably a PC ready to go. Importantly we ask for the light to be coming onto your face. NOT from behind. You then hit that email link and your computer camera will automatically turn on, you enter the live holding space and you chat with me offline while we check audio and camera etc. Once it is looking good, you’re on hold while we go LIVE, then we bring you on air. So, you do not need to be a tech expert! It is simple. We talk about your sailing background, who you are, why you’re doing the OGR, about your yacht, team etc. We also ask you to do a word association, first thing that comes into your mind, and also answer some simple questions to get to know who you are – your human story. It is a bit of fun and a great way for followers to FEEL who you are and why you’re doing this great adventure. If you’re up for that, we would LOVE to hear from you. Could you please message Jane and let her know? She will then schedule a time in the months ahead. THANKS for being part of this.
OGR Major Press Conference
Notice of the scheduled OGR Press Conferences will be given to all when they are decided. You’re all invited. WE are however planning a MAJOR PRESS CONFERENCE in Les Sables d’Olonne in late April/early May. WE are inviting all entrants to bring their yachts to the Vendee Marina for this significant event. The OGR Office is in Les Sables d’Olonne. We will also hold a separate scheduled briefing for all OGR Entrants and an Entrants dinner for all attending. We currently have commitments from about six Yachts attending. This is simply a Pre-Alert and final dates and arrangements will be made by late February when we have a better idea about the future COVID situation.
Finally, I can confirm that serious negotiations are underway with potential partners for OGR. Even in these COVID-19 times the response to the concept and principles of the OGR is strong. Some say this new event in the international sailing calendar is one of the most significant developments in the last decade. It returns to the roots of sailing as a true human story, a real challenge for all sailors, a great race and serious adventure!
It sounds impressive and we know it will be and you’re all part of remaking history. Thanks. There is also a significant media production and distribution package planned to send this story, your story, around the world. The OGR will inspire ordinary people, not just sailors. That excites us.
Safe sailing and good luck with your plans… Keep the dream alive.
Don and Jane