A world tour. Seven teams. Eleven ports. Nine stages. 38,739 nautical miles. A technical stop. 27 days for stage sailing the ocean. A goal. This is the fate that awaits the sailors this weekend have been released to sail the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015. An adventure not suitable for the faint hearted.
The big surprise of this year is the participation of women’s team for the first time in 10 years: 14 women comprise the SCA Team captained by renowned solo sailor Sam Davies. They demonstrate that the navigation, also in a girl thing.
The Spanish crew of Mapfre led by Olympic champions Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez has a very clear objective: to make history, bringing home the first Spanish victory. The challenge begins.
The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is one of the toughest opponents. Ian Walker returns to helm ‘hawk boat’ with experience, budget and controlled for time.
On the other hand, Team Alvimedica debuts. This young American team sponsored by a Turkish brand fulfill a dream pursued for years. Charlie Enright, with thousands of ocean miles behind the skippered. Will they succeed?
Another ambitious project is the Chinese, called Dongfeng Race Team. The “wind”, skippered by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, has half of Chinese sailors and half international.
The Dutch veteran skipper Bouwe Bekking, with six participations behind, returns to captain the Team Brunel with a young, enthusiastic and very fit crew. Will the seventh which will win?
And finally, Chris Nicholson, four times champion of the Volvo Ocean Race, are challenged again to get his fifth win together at Team Vestas Wind, accompanied by a partner exception: one of the largest wind turbine manufacturers in the world. Looks like the wind will be in his favor
This time, the race has introduced the concept of Monotype: same for all ships. This is a new sailing model the Volvo Open 65 (VO65). This decision has managed to make the competition more fierce, expanded participation and victory has put directly in the hands of the sailors. So, everything depends on the performance and preparation of the equipment, yes, hang their banners to mark their identity during the battle.
On October 11, seven tems departed from Alicante (Spain) towards Cape Town (South Africa), where they will arrive in mid-November. From the first stop of the Volvo Ocean race can be expected around. The morale of the crew is the basis of victory and a bad result can dent the attitude and motivation of the team for the rest of the competition. It is important, as they say, a paddle. The rest will be short, four days after they set sail to the Middle East. If all goes as it should, teams may spend Christmas with the family no more and no less than in Abu Dhabi, which should have come with enough days before the celebrations.
On January 3, new sea and new goal: Sanya (China). The shortest stage, but one of the toughest. The Arabian Sea, the tip of India and the Straits of Malacca await them in a road full of obstacles that collide: rocks, fishing boats without lights, countries, driftnets, floating containers … It will not be easy to get Auckland (New Zealand) for Valentine’s Day. In the “City of Sails” one day every four rains on average, but the time at the end of the summer is nice. In mid-March, the sailors who have come here, will leave for Itajai (Brazil), a cruise considered as the “heart and soul” of the Volvo Ocean Race. After thousands of miles, across the polar cap, the first to reach Brazil will be a feat. The average temperature in April is around 27 °, a luxury after the cold ocean wind. Sailors, dirty and exhausted, should rest well, because only have come to Ecuador career.
Newport (USA), one of the American cities with more love of sailing, will be the sixth stop, stretch beginning on April 19th to arrive on May 4 and again set sail in mid March. Prepare for rain and cool; the Atlantic at that time no truce. Lisbon, the beautiful capital of Portugal, is waiting to competitors arriving in early June. A place with an interesting past of naval empire during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It will be on June 7 when the teams make it back to the sea en route to Lorient (France), located in Brittany. This small town where nearly 10% of the population work in the maritime industry, from fishing ports and freight to passenger ships and yachts, sport supports both local kids give sailing lessons from school primary.
The end is near. The Hague (Netherlands) will be the first stop for 24 hours in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race. The crews will come in the same order in which they arrived, but 24 hours apart. A little break to plan and prepare for the goal: Gothenburg (Sweden), the headquarters of Volvo. The North Sea is home to some complications, so that everything could be decided there. Sailors are expected to arrive on June 21. A few days later, the In-port race end on June 27 will determine the winning team.
Win a round the world race is no easy task, there are many dangers sailors faced: climate, calms, extreme humidity, structural failures, collisions with UFOs (floating unidentified objects), the icebergs, sea animals … that is why boaters have been prepared in safety precautions, survival and physical and mental condition. Besides leading his knapsack on his back, a good sailor must be like the sea: cold in his attitude and warm in their decisions. All the luck in the world for the champions!