In what is being described as a return to the Volvo Ocean Race’s roots, the route for the 2017-18 will feature almost three times as much Southern Ocean racing as the previous running.
No longer will crews have to contend with an often light-air slog north through the Indian Ocean (and, incidentally, through some of the most pirate-infested waters in the world) into the bathtub-warm Persian Gulf. Instead, after departing Cape Town, South Africa, the fleet will blast due east until it takes a left-hand turn just past Australia toward Hong Kong—a truly epic leg that will push both boats and crews to the limit.
After that, it’s a brief jaunt up to Guangzhou, China, before sailing back down to Auckland, New Zealand, where the fleet will jump off for Itajaí, Brazil, via Cape Horn. From there, crews will continue on to Newport, Rhode Island, one of the most successful stops during the 2014-15 race thanks to the outpouring of support from thousands of East Coast fans.
In all, the fleet will cover 45,000 miles, crossing four oceans and visiting 11 different cities around the world. The race will begin in late 2017 in Alicante, Spain, and finish the following Summer in Gothenburg, Sweden. It will do so in a slightly shorter time frame, finishing a month earlier than in the past, although exact dates have not yet been decided.
“More action, more speed, more tough miles and more host venues, but a shorter race—it’s an evolution in the right direction and a move that takes the race closer to its original roots and heritage, while improving its strong commercial value and excellent business case for sponsors,” says race CEO Mark Turner. For more, visit volvooceanrace.com.
Photo courtesy of Rick Tomlinson/VOR; Illustration courtesy of VOR