Volvo Race Renews its U.S. Roots

Author:
Updated:
Original:
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

2.4mR's racing at the 2018 Clagett Regatta-US Para Sailing Championships credit Clagett Regatta-Andes Visual

Host for 2021 U.S. Para Sailing Championships Announced

The 2021 U.S. Para Sailing Championships will be hosted by The Clagett Regatta at Sail Newport, in Newport, R.I. on August, 24-29, 2021, according to a joint announcement from the host and US Sailing. "We have had a very long working relationship with US Sailing and look forward ...read more

Reflections-photo-CMerwarth

Cruising: Reflections of an Old Salt

I am 90 years old, dwindling in mind and body and fear living too long. Twenty years have passed since I last weighed anchor. Still, when a Carolina blue sky is polka-dotted with billowing cumulus clouds and the wind blows fair, I sorely miss raising sail and setting forth. I ...read more

DSC_0145

Waterlines: Solo Sailing

In spite of the fact I came to the sport of sailing alone and untutored, in a boat I acquired on my own, I never really aspired to become a solo sailor. It just sort of happened. All these years later, I still never explicitly plan to sail anywhere alone. I’m always happy to ...read more

01a-DJI_0398

Racing The M32 Class

This year the M32 celebrates its 10th birthday. Swedish Olympic bronze medalist Göran Marström and Kåre Ljung designed the M32 in 2011 as the latest addition to an already impressive portfolio that includes the Tornado, M5 A-Class, M20 catamaran and the Extreme 40. Two years ...read more

01-LEAD-23274-Coastal-Oilskins-GSP

Know how: Cleats, Clutches and Jammers

Since the invention of rope, there has also been a need to belay or secure it. Every sailboat has rope on board so, unless you own a superyacht with captive reels or winches, you’re going to have to find a way to make it fast. (As a side note—and before you reach for your ...read more

9e4d8714-2a8e-4e79-b8f6-c9786aaec4d0

Antigua Sailing Week Announces Women’s Mentorship Program

In partnership with the Antigua and Barbuda Marine Association, Antigua Sailing Week is launching a mentorship program to encourage women and girls to join the sport of sailing. President of Antigua Sailing Week, Alison Sly-Adams says, “When we devised the program, we looked at ...read more

01-LEAD-Carmody-Distant-Drummer

Experience: A Badly Snagged Prop in Haiti

When a winter norther blows through the Bahamas, the northeast trades can reach gale force as they funnel through the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti. After waiting for a lull, though, we had a fabulous beam reach aboard our Liberty 458, Distant Drummer, from Santiago de ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_9186

Charter Cruise to La Paz Mexico

Just 24 hours before our scheduled charter in the Bahamas, the government clamped down again on visitors from the United States. Having endured two Covid-19 brain swabs in preparation, I looked at my packed bag on the floor and reached for the rum. I could, at least, pretend I ...read more