2017 Toronto — As the Canadian sailing season kicks off, the Canadian Ocean Racing team announces new management and programming for the IMOCA60 O CANADA. After two years of campaigning the open 60 racing vessel built in Canada, the team has expanded to offer more international racing opportunities for Canadians and youth around the world with a new vessel and ambitions.
The team’s charity partner and previous owner of O CANADA, Wind Athletes Canada, has sold the vessel to Big O Sailing Limited. The new owner intends to partner with Sail Canada and continue Canadian Ocean Racing’s mission of building the sport in Canada. The vessel will remain in Canada to focus on grassroots sailing initiatives, but still one day hopes to sail around the world. While the programming will be similar, all of O CANADA’s future endeavors will be managed by O Canada Ltd, a not-for-profit organization.
The Canadian Ocean Racing team leased O CANADA from Wind Athletes Canada for 2015 and 2016 in order to compete in international ocean racing events and build the sport of offshore racing within Canada. After two IMOCA class racing events, multiple transatlantics, and thousands of community sailing opportunities, the team decided to expand internationally as Ocean Racers with a more sustainable vessel and platform at the end of 2016.
When O CANADA went into dry storage in November 2016, Ocean Racers acquired a Pogo 12.50 in order to provide year-round racing and offshore sailing opportunities for sailors at all levels. The team has continued to provide scholarship racing opportunities for our Aspiring Offshore Athletes (AOA) in races such as the Caribbean 600, Heineken Regatta and most recently the Antigua Bermuda Race.
“We had to make the tough choice of continuing to struggle with O CANADA or move onto a platform that was more manageable and accessible. O CANADA is an aging high-performance race boat. She gave us two great years, but it is the best decision for our team to run year-round programming on a vessel that is a safe and enjoyable platform for sailors of all ages, gender, background and experience,” said Morgen Watson, Director of Ocean Racers / Canadian Ocean Racing.
Big O Sailing Limited is currently completing a winter refit on O CANADA and intends to launch her back into Lake Ontario for summer programming in Toronto and neighboring cities.