You may have seen on TV at sometime the huge multi-million sponsored sailboats in an all-out race. That is happening right now in the VOR (Volvo Ocean Race).
What the VOR is
Since 1973, the Volvo Ocean Race has provided the ultimate test of a team and a human adventure like no other. Over four decades it has kept an almost mythical hold over some of the greatest ever sailors – and the 2017-18 edition will take the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world, across four oceans, touching six continents and 12 landmark Host Cities.
The Volvo Ocean Race is often described as the longest and toughest professional sporting event in the world, sailing’s toughest team challenge and one of the sport’s Big Three events, alongside the Olympics and America’s Cup.
To truly understand the race, though, it’s better to think of it in a way the athletes who take part will recognize immediately. Put simply, the Volvo Ocean Race is an obsession, and many of the world’s best sailors have dedicated years, even decades of their lives trying to win it.
The race sits, just as it always has, at the intersection of human adventure, and world-class competition. Thanks to the work of the Onboard Reporters embedded with every team, fans are given a unique insight into just what it takes to win a race that is relentless in its demands – as teams give everything they have, 24 hours a day, in pursuit of the tiny advantages that can make all the difference.
Because make no mistake – the competition is fierce. In the current era of One Design racing, the only way to win is by sailing harder, and smarter, than your competitors. The race is won out on the water; not in the design phase.
The race’s concept is simple: it’s a round-the-clock pursuit of competitive edge and the ultimate ocean marathon, pitting the sport’s best sailors against each other across the world’s toughest waters.
There is no prize money for the winners, but seeing your name etched into one of the silver rings of the Volvo Ocean Race Trophy is a prize beyond compare for sailors who grew up with dreams of emulating the legends of the race – heroic figures who dedicated their professional lives to chasing victory – people like Blake, Éric Tabarly, Conny van Rietschoten, Grant Dalton, Paul Cayard, Ian Walker.
In 2017-18, there is a renewed emphasis on the Southern Ocean and a new set of rules too – incentivizing mixed crews of male and female sailors and more strategic innovation out on the racecourse.
A total of 2.4 million people visited the Race Villages in the last edition, to get a first-hand taste of the race. Millions more followed the action on our digital platforms and this time fans will be able to get even closer in person and online, with a newly imagined pit lane experience at the Host Cities and more live updates from the boat than ever.
After 12 editions and half a million miles, racing resumed on October 22 when the teams set sail from our home port of Alicante and will conclude in The Hague in June 2018.
Teams in Volvo Ocean Race
Team AkzoNobel were the first to officially announce, more than 15 months before the start of the race. Akzonobel were followed by China’s Dongfeng Race Team, returning for a second consecutive race, with French skipper Charles Caudrelier once again at the helm following a podium finish in 2014-15.
MAPFRE have also announced their return to the race. They will announce a skipper at a later date, but we already know that overseeing the campaign will be Pedro Campos, who has an unbroken history with the race dating back to the movie star campaign in 2005-06. Spanish boats have competed in eight of the previous 12 editions of the Volvo Ocean Race – formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race – but the country is still looking for a first win. Could this be the year?
This announcement was shortly followed by the announcement of another returning sponsor. Vestas announced they will be returning to the race for a second consecutive edition in partnership with 11th Hour Racing. The team will be led by the American duo of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill who had their first taste of the Volvo Ocean Race back in 2014-15.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing has two core aims: to do well on the water and promote a sustainable message across the world.
Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag representing Hong Kong, the fifth team to join the next edition is backed by Hong Kong-based Seng Huang Lee and Sun Hung Kai & Co. and aims to promote competitive sailing and build a long-lasting youth sailing legacy in Asia.
The team will be skippered by experienced Australian sailor David Witt, who competed in the 1997-98 race onboard Innovation Kvaerner.
Team Turn the Tide on Plastic will be skippered by Britain’s Dee Caffari, who will lead a mixed, youth focused team with a strong sustainability message in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18. Her campaign, already backed by the Mirpuri Foundation and Ocean Family Foundation, is dedicated to the issue of ocean health.
Team Brunel returns for a second consecutive edition – and fourth Volvo Ocean Race campaign – and is focused on creating opportunities for the next generation. A consortium of Dutch companies including Brunel, Abel, Royal Huisman and EY Team Brunel will support an initiative known as ‘Engineering the Future’. Skipper Bouwe Bekking is back at the helm for his eighth attempt at the trophy, and keen to score an elusive first win.
You can see it in Newort, RI
The Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on October of 2017 and when complete, the 2017-2018 edition will have taken the seven teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world, across four oceans, touching six continents and 12 Host Cities. Upon the arrival in Rhode Island, the teams will be over half way through the race which is expected to finish in June of 2018 in The Hague.
The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover, scheduled May 8 – 20, is hosted by Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center, the State of Rhode Island, the R.I. Dept. of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and Commerce RI.
The Stopover marks the second time the race calls on the City-by-the-Sea, having previously visited in May 2015 for the 2014-2015 edition of the race. That first-time stopover attracted people far and wide to Newport for 13 glorious spring days of celebration at Fort Adams State Park.
Where it is:
May 8, 2018 – May 20, 2018
Location: Fort Adams
90 Fort Adams Drive
Newport, RI 02840
All Host Cities for VOR
Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Hong Kong (again), Auckland, Itajai, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, The Hague.
For all the most up to date on the this race you would go to volvooceanrace.com
Some history of the VOR
n 1972 England’s Whitbread company and the British Royal Naval Sailing Association agreed to sponsor a globe-circling regatta, which would be called the ‘Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race’.
17 yachts and 167 crew started the first race of 27,500 nmi (50,900 km), which began from Portsmouth, United Kingdom on September 14, 1973. Approximately 3000 spectator boats set out to witness the historic start. The first race was won by Mexican amateur Ramon Carlin in a Swan 65 yacht, Sayula II.
The original course was designed to follow the route of the square riggers, which had carried cargo around the world during the 19th Century.
From 2001 the ownership of the race was taken over by Volvo and Volvo Cars and the race was renamed the ‘Volvo Ocean Race’. Stopover ports were added in Germany, France, and Sweden being Volvo’s three biggest car markets in Europe.
Winning the race does not attract a cash prize, as the feat of competing is presented as sufficient reward.
Many of the crew in the Volvo Ocean Race crew other professional teams in other high-profile events, such as Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the America’s Cup, or the Fastnet Race.
The worst weather conditions are usually encountered in the Southern Ocean where waves sometimes top 150 feet (46 m) and winds can reach 70 knots (130 km/h).
The 2014–15 race covered 39,379nautical miles, which is the longest route in its history.
The Volvo Open 70 has been replaced by the Volvo Ocean 65, a new class of high performance one-design racing yacht created by Farr Yacht Design and built by a consortium of four European boatyards (Green Marine (UK), Decision (Switzerland), Multiplast (France) and Persico Marine (Italy).
The VOR is a pretty cool race no matter who wins, so good luck to all!