The distances between ports were longer, stopovers fewer and time in port shorter. This, and racing singlehanded across 30,000 miles of ocean, tortured by sleep deprivation, battered by treacherous seas and raging winds makes up The Ultimate Solo Challenge.
The VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006/07 was one of the most successful round the world yacht races in history, delivering over EUR 65 million media value to all stakeholders. The rcce created global impact and media exposure (Europe, Australasia, Asia and North America), with numerous landmark features outside of the sports pages/programming across the planet, including New York Times, Toronto Star, Fuji TV (live link 2/week on morning news), Sunday Times Magazine, Esquire.
The race was an enjoyable experience for all skippers, teams and people involved with the event, as well as providing a significant and tangible return on investment for the sponsors of the competing yachts
Success was achieved through a combination of factors:
Innovative and integrated communications program that focused on the skippers in the race as the central characters ("HEROES"), communicating their personalities and stories through imagery and content that engaged with media and audiences beyond pure sailing and sports
A 12-part TV documentary shown across 29 countries and 4 airlines, including unprecedented deal with Channel 4 (UK)
Cutting edge broadband TV platform with documentary and regular video content (now adopted by Volvo Ocean Race)
Over 25,000 images downloaded from online picture gallery and 25,000 viewings of race footage on YouTube
Media team that had the experience, motivation, assets and budgets to maximise the dramatic events of the race, including the Bay of Biscay Storm and the Southern Ocean Rescue
Onboard communication package that included LiveWIre video links, cameras and airtime budget to encourage content and TV news links
Creative event planning to create imagery and scenes that brought the skippers closer to the public and promoted the reality of the strong brand promise of "The Ultimate Solo Challenge"
This race brand identity was reflected through every channel of communication, event management and marketing efforts
The result was that VELUX re-signed as title sponsor for the 2010 event within six months of race finish and positive feedback from all stakeholders, plus new interest from host ports, skippers and partners.
The history of the original Solo Ocean Race
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the oldest single-handed round the world yacht race. Run every 4 years since 1982, the race is the longest and toughest event for any individual in any sport. Single-handed around the world's oceans in thoroughbred racing yachts represents the ultimate odyssey. The ultimate in human endeavour, only 90 people have so far finished the challenge.
The BOC Challenge 1982
- Raced over four legs; Newport, Rhode Island - Cape Town - Sydney - Rio de Janeiro - Newport
- Two classes of boat were entered: Class 1, 45-56 feet (13.7-17.1 m); and Class 2, 32-44 feet (9.7-13.4 m)
Based on David White's original concept, the inaugural BOC Challenge got away at the end of August 1982 with a fleet of 17 boats racing via South Africa, the Southern Ocean and beyond.
They were a rag-tag bunch, but among them one entry stood out, an unknown Frenchman by the name of Philippe Jeantot. [He arrived with a purpose-built 56 foot sloop named Credit Agricole, and went on to win all four legs of the race with an overall elapsed time of just over 159 days. Class 2 was won by a Zen Buddhist cab driver from Tokyo by the name of Yukoh Tada. As expected the race had its dramatic moments, with two rescues.