Supported by the Class Secretary, Isabelle JACQUET, this full time team are expected to significantly increase the professionalism and efficiency of the IMOCA 60 governing body, as the demands of its members, skippers, sponsors, event organizers and the media continue to increase.
METZ, originally from Belgium, is fluent in French, English, Dutch and Spanish - a key requirement of the ever more international class - and he comes with a wide range of experience in the professional sailing world, including time in the international marine industry with Spinlock in the 1990s, campaign management experience with the Belgacom ORMA 60 campaign, race management experience as Vendée Globe 2004 deputy race director, and most recently as project Manager for Vincent RIOU's (FRA) new PRB IMOCA project.
Supported by JACQUET, METZ's role will be extensive in developing the professionalism of the Class, its external relationships, and the benefits derived for its members. METZ will report directly to the elected Executive Committee, who are all volunteers drawn from IMOCA projects.
Whilst progress in the past few years has been significant, relying on the voluntary time of otherwise extremely busy skippers and project managers has held the class back. This appointment is being funded initially by increased financial commitment of the Active Members of the class, but it is expected that a number of class partners will be signed in 2007 to move the class on to a new financial footing allowing it to develop at a similar rate to the spectacular growth in IMOCA race campaigns in the past two years.
METZ commented, 'This is going to be a great challenge, and an exciting journey with a Class that is in full expansion on an international scale. The coming years will offer us a number of ideal opportunities to develop a very strong circuit with both great events on the water and even greater returns for sponsors. I am really much looking forward to being part of this development'.
Luc TALBOURDET, elected President of IMOCA added, 'The IMOCA Executive has been looking for this solution for some time, to enable us to improve our service and professionalism to keep up with that of our race projects. We have been stuck in a chicken and egg situation on the funding of the class, but have finally found a way forward which I am sure everyone both internally and externally will welcome.'