On October 22, 2017, the 13th Volvo Ocean Race started in Alicante. The regatta runs from Alicante via Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajai, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg to The Hague. During the race, the seven teams cover 45,000 nautical miles - 6,000 more than during the last race in 2014/15.
Route planning of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18 is considered as one of the toughest so far
The Volvo Ocean Race is composed of twelve legs with eleven ports. The destination port is in The Hague, which will be reached after a total of 45,000 nautical miles and eight months at sea. The route of the race is surely the hardest since the launch of the race: not only is it 6,000 nautical miles longer than the last race, but the sailors also have to cover around 8,000 nautical miles in the Southern Ocean within just one leg: Because the seventh leg of the race takes the sailors from Auckland around Cape Horn to Itajai in South America.
A total of seven teams are participating in the regatta: Brunel (Netherlands), Dongfeng Race Team (China), Mapfre (Spain), Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag (Hong Kong), Team AkzoNobel (Netherlands), Turn the Tide on Plastic and Vestas 11th hour racing (USA / Denmark). After a rule change, all teams have also hired women as crew members. Almost all teams sail yachts of the class Volvo Ocean 65, which were already used at the 12th edition of the regatta. These 20-meter-long boats were built for the last race in 2014/15 and planned for the participation in two competitions.
Winner of the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race is the Danish-American team "Vestas"
The first leg was a breeze compared to the total distance: 1,600 nautical miles from Alicante to Lisbon. However, a few miles before the first finish line, the teams were stuck in a lull and struggled to move forward. The winner was the Danish-American team "Vestas 11th Hour Racing", which reached Lisbon after six days, two hours and eight minutes. Second was the Spanish favorite "Mapfre". First penalties had already been given shortly after the starting shot, as the teams "Dongfeng", "Mapfre" and "Brunel" came dangerously close to each other and did only veer away at the last moment.
For the second stage, the teams started on November 5. From Lisbon, the yachts cover 7,000 nautical miles to Cape Town, South Africa.
The Volvo Ocean Race has taken place since 1973
The sailing regatta Volvo Ocean Race has been held every four years since 1973 and every three years since 2006, and is running around the world. The regatta starts in Europe in autumn, taking sailors across the Atlantic Ocean, around Africa at the Cape of Good Hope, across the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific to South and North America, and from there back to Europe. Due to the wind and weather conditions, the Volvo Ocean Race is considered as one of the toughest sailing challenges.