Skip to main content

Volvo Race Renews its U.S. Roots

Volvo Ocean Race

U.S. sailors Charlie Enright (left) and Mark Towill will lead a joint U.S.-Danish effort in 2017-18; China’s Dongfeng is also prepping for another lap (below)

Even as the America’s Cup continues to drift farther and farther away from North American sailing fans, the Volvo Ocean Race continues to sink deeper roots in U.S. soil.

First, there was the decision to return to Newport, Rhode Island, site of one of the more successful stopovers during the 2014-15 race. Then came the announcement that U.S. sailors Charlie Enright and Mark Towill, co-leaders of the Alvimedica team in 2014-15 will also be returning as leaders of a joint U.S.-Danish effort being funded by the wind-power company Vestas and the environmental organization 11th Hour Racing.

At press time, Vestas 11th Hour Racing was one of four teams that had formally announced they were taking part in the event, which kicks off with an in-port race on October 14 in Alicante, Spain, and finishes in The Hague eight months later. However, because the race will be held using the same one-design Volvo Ocean 65s that competed last time around—thereby dramatically reducing costs and training times—there was still plenty of opportunities for more teams to join in.

“It’s an exciting time. We’ve achieved a strong collective of sponsors, and the boat has now been refitted and branded in Lisbon, Portugal waiting for us to get over there and get it out on the water. We’re working hard on building a competitive team ahead of the race,” Enright said, adding he and Towill hope to get in a transatlantic sail or two by the end of this spring.

Facing Enright and Towill will be at least two other teams that they sailed against in 2014-15, China’s Dongfeng and Spain’s MAPFRE, as well as a new Dutch team, AkzoNobel.

In other developments, traditionalists will rejoice at the news that after venturing into places like the northern Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf in recent years, the race is getting back to its Southern Ocean roots, with a leg that goes directly from Cape Town to Melbourne and another going from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajaí, Brazil. In all, about 12,500 miles of the 46,000-mile event will take place in the Southern Ocean.

For more on Vestas 11th Hour Racing and the VOR, visit volvooceanrace.com.

Photos courtesy of Dongfeng/VOR; Amory Ross/Alvimedica (inset)

June 2017

Related

Spons-Sailing-Convention-for-Women-CA-April-1-photo-1-2023-12_06_22

Sailing Convention for Women Returns

After a three-year pandemic hiatus, the Sailing Convention for Women is back with expanded learning opportunities taking place at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club in Corona Del Mar, California on April 1, 2023. Some of the workshop topics include Suddenly Singlehanded, Steer with ...read more

thumbnail_Jump-1

The Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race Returns

It’s been four years since racers last sailed the cold North Atlantic in the venerable Marblehead-to-Halifax race—and finally, the wait is over. The Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron have announced the 39th Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race set for this ...read more

Wendy-2048px

Meet Wendy Mitman Clarke, Editor-in-Chief of SAIL magazine

Learn more about how she and the magazine’s team are committed to building on SAIL’s legacy of more than 50 years as an authentic voice about the sport and the sailing life, delivering stories that educate, inspire and inform. ...read more

maintenance-02

Cruising: Old Sailors Never Die

“Old sailors never die, they just get a little dinghy.” It may be a hoary old joke, but one of my problems at age 79 is I can no longer get easily in and out of a little dinghy, and neither can my (several years younger than me) wife. For this, and various other reasons I will ...read more

01-LEAD-DSC_0953

The Mighty Compass

Here’s to the humble magnetic compass, without a doubt the sailor’s most reliable instrument onboard. It’s always there for you and with the rarest of exceptions, always operational. Yes, I love my chartplotter, autopilot, radar, and AIS. They help me be a safer and more ...read more

02-En-route-Jost-Van-D

Chartering: Swan Song in the BVI

Joseph Conrad once wrote, “The sea never changes.” And while this may or not be true, something most definitely not open for debate is the fact we sailors, “wrapped in mystery,” as Conrad put it, are continually changing—whether we like it or not. I found myself thinking these ...read more

220307FP51_1JML0332

Boat Review: Fountaine-Pajot Aura 51

If you can sell more than 150 catamarans off-plan before the resin has even hit the fiberglass, you must be doing something right. Despite costing around $1.1 million once fitted out and on the water, Fountaine-Pajot’s new 51 has done just that. The French yard has been at it ...read more

00LEAD-IMG-9035

Ready to Fly a New Sail

It’s a typical humid, southern Chesapeake Bay summer day when I show up on the doorstep of Latell & Ailsworth Sailmakers in the one-stoplight, one-lane-roadway, rural tidewater town of Deltaville, Virginia. I’m late getting here to work on a new jib for my 29-foot, Bill ...read more