The Ocean Race sailing event has released its full schedule for its 2021-22 edition following the conclusion of a host city procurement process conducted by The Sports Consultancy resulting in nine hosting agreements spanning 5 continents.

Alicante will host the first leg of the race in October 2021 before it heads to the new destination of Capo Verde and then Cape Town in South Africa and finish in the Italian city of Genoa.

A second new host city, Shenzhen in China, will then play host before legs in Auckland, New Zealand; Itajaí, Brazil; Newport, USA; Aarhus, Denmark and The Hague, Netherlands before the race finishes in Genoa. Stopover dates will be confirmed in due course.

Genoa, Shenzhen and Capo Verde are the three new host cities, with the remaining seven destinations having staged in the past. The Capo Verde leg will mark the race’s first visit to West Africa.

The Ocean Race will open to the high-tech IMOCA 60 class for the first time, in addition to the one-design VO65 boats that were used during the 2017-18 race.

Ocean Race managing director Johan Salén said: “As we open up the design and innovation elements of the race again with the IMOCA class, confirming the race route for our teams has taken on an added importance as the designers look to optimise performance for the conditions.

“This route is more compact at 38,000 nautical miles and with two less stopovers compared with the last race but it includes two significant Southern Ocean legs, where crews on both the IMOCA 60s and the VO65s will have an opportunity to add their stories to the legend of this race.”

The 2018 race was won by the Chinese-flagged Dongfeng Race Team.