Navigating the Volvo Ocean Race

In addition to being one of the most challenging events in all of sports, the Volvo Ocean Race can be incredibly complicated—for fans as well as those doing the actual racing and their support staff. The following is a brief guide to the upcoming 2011-12 race.

This year’s iteration of the VOR (originally called the Whitbread Round the World Race) represents the 11th time around the track since the inaugural event in 1975.

The 2011-12 race, which starts October 29, will feature six teams of 11 sailors covering approximately 39,000 miles as they visit 10 different ports, including Miami, the race’s sole U.S. stopover.

The teams and their skippers include:

· Puma Ocean Racing Powered by Berg Propulsion –Ken Read, USA

· Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing –Ian Walker, UK

· Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand –Chris Nicholson, New Zealand

· Groupama Sailing Team –Franck Cammas, France

· Team Sanya –Mike Sanderson, New Zealand

· Team Telefonica –Iker Martinez, Spain

The rules governing the design parameters of the Volvo 70s being used in this year’s race have changed only incrementally since the 2008-09 race. As a result, the boats have changed only incrementally as well. One big change is a new rule reducing the number of sails each team can use in the course of the race from 24 to 17, which puts a premium on developing the right canvas.

Some specs for the 2011-12 Volvo 70 class:

LOA – 70ft 6in

Beam – 18ft 8in

Max draft – 14ft 8in

Min. displacement – 30,865lb

Stopover ports, which will be the site for inshore racing as well the start and finish of the various offshore stages include:

1. Alicante, Spain – inshore race Oct. 29, start of Leg 1 Nov. 5

2. Cape Town, South Africa – Inshore race Dec. 10, start of Leg 2 Dec. 11

3. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Inshore race Jan. 13, start of Leg 3 Jan. 14

4. Sanya, China – Inshore race Feb. 18, start of Leg 4 Feb. 19

5. Auckland, New Zealand – Inshore race March 17, start of Leg 5 March 18

6. Itajai, Brazil – Inshore race April 21, start of Leg 6 April 22

7. Miami, Florida – Inshore race May 19, start of Leg 7 May 20

8. Lisbon, Portugal – Inshore race June 9, start of Leg 8 June 10

9. Lorient, France – Inshore race June 30, start of Leg 9 July 1

10. Galway, Ireland – Finish of last offshore leg, Inshore race July 7

The VOR will use a high scoring system. In other words, the team with the most points at the end of the race wins. The winner of each leg will earn five points for each boat in. The second-place boat will win five points less, and so on. All legs will count with no throw-outs. The same system using a single point for each boat in the fleet will be used for in-port racing, so that points for the in-port portion of the race will account for 20 percent of the total.

For example, if six entries compete in the in-port race in Alicante, the winner will be awarded 6 points (6 x 1), while the winner of Leg 1 to Cape Town will receive 30 points (6 x 5). The second-place boat in the inshore event will receive 5 points, and the second-place boat for Leg 1 will receive 25 points.

For additional information on the race, visit

For more on Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg Propulsion, which includes American skipper Ken Read and U.S. crewmembers Arden Oksanen in the media spot and Rome Kirby as a helmsman and trimmer, visit

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