Volvo Ocean Race

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VolvoOceanRace2006Yachts.jpg
Some of the Volvo Ocean Race participants in Baltimore Inner Harbor, United States, in 2006
History
Established: 1973
Headquarters: Alicante, Spain
Title Sponsors: Whitbread (1973–2001)
Volvo (2001–Present)
Sponsors: Inmarsat, Abu Dhabi, Maersk Line, IWC, Cobham
Most recent winner: France Groupama 4 (2011–12)
Current Race
Start: Alicante, Spain 4.10.2014
Finish: Gothenburg, Sweden 27.06.2015
Entries: 6
Legs: 9
Yachts Used: Volvo One-Design
Similar Events: Vendée Globe, VELUX 5 Oceans Race, Global Challenge
Websites: www.volvoceanrace.com

The Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) is a yacht race around the world, held every three years.[1] Originally named after its initiating sponsor, British Whitbread brewing company, it today carries the name of its current sponsor, Swedish automobile manufacturer Volvo. Presently, the Netherlands holds the record of three wins, with Dutch skipper Conny van Rietschoten the only to win the race twice.

Though the route is changed to accommodate various ports of call, the race typically departs Europe in October, and in recent editions has had either 9 or 10 legs, with in-port races at many of the stopover cities. The 2008–09 race started in Alicante, Spain, on October 11, 2008.[1] The route for the 2008–2009 race was altered from previous years to include stopovers in India and Asia for the first time.[2] The 2008–09 route covered nearly 39,000 nmi (72,000 km), took over nine months to complete, and reached a cumulative TV audience of 2 billion people worldwide.[3]

During the nine months of the 2011–12 Volvo Ocean Race, which started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concluded in Galway, Ireland, in July 2012, the teams were scheduled to sail over 39,000 nmi (72,000 km) of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient.

Each of the entries has a sailing team of 9 professional crew who race day and night for more than 20 days at a time on some of the legs. They each have different jobs on board the boat, and on top of these sailing roles, there are two sailors that have had medical training, as well as a sailmaker, an engineer and a dedicated media crew member.

No fresh food is taken on board, so the crew lives off freeze-dried fare; they will experience temperature variations from −5 to +40 degrees Celsius and will only take one change of clothes[citation needed].

History[edit]

In 1972 England's Whitbread company and the British Royal Naval Sailing Association agreed to sponsor a globe-circling regatta, which would be called the 'Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race'.

Volvo Ocean Race flag in Baltimore Inner Harbor, United States

17 yachts and 167 crew started the first race of 27,500 nmi (50,900 km), which began from Portsmouth, United Kingdom on September 8, 1973. Approximately 3000 spectator boats set out to witness the historic start.[4]

The original course was designed to follow the route of the square riggers, which had carried cargo around the world during the 19th Century.[5]

From 2001 the ownership of the race was taken over by Volvo and Volvo Cars and the race was renamed the ‘Volvo Ocean Race’. Stopover ports were added in Germany, France, and Sweden being Volvo's three biggest car markets in Europe.

Winning the race does not attract a cash prize, as the feat of competing is presented as sufficient reward.

Many of the contestants in the Volvo Ocean Race tend to go into other professional teams after the race, such as certain members of Oracle Team USA.

The worst weather conditions are usually encountered in the Southern Ocean where waves sometimes top 100 feet (30 m) and winds can reach 60 knots (110 km/h).

The 2014–15 race is set to last 39,379[6] nautical miles, which is the longest route in its history.[7]

Stealth play[edit]

The 2008–09 race featured "Stealth play", a tactic that allowed a crew to hide its position from its competitors for a period of 12 hours. It was designed to add an tactical dimension to the race, whereby a team might opt to make a break from the fleet without the rest of the competitors knowing what they are doing and where they are on the race track. The ploy can first be used on leg one, leg two, leg five, leg six and leg seven. If it is not used on one leg, it cannot be accumulated for use on a following leg.[8]

The yachts[edit]

Main article: Volvo Open 70

The Volvo Open 70 has been replaced by the Volvo Ocean 65,[9] a new class of high performance one-design racing yacht created by Farr Yacht Design and built by a consortium of four European boatyards.

List of races[edit]

Edition Class Legs In-Port Races Entries Start Finish Winning yacht Winning skipper
1973–74 32–80 ft (9.8–24.4 m) 4 0 17 Portsmouth, England Portsmouth, England Sayula II, Mexico Ramón Carlin, Mexico
1977–78 51–77 ft (16–23 m) 4 0 15 Portsmouth, England Portsmouth, England Flyer, Netherlands Conny van Rietschoten, Netherlands
1981–82 43–80 ft (13–24 m) 4 0 29 Portsmouth, England Portsmouth, England Flyer II, Netherlands Conny van Rietschoten, Netherlands
1985–86 49–83 ft (15–25 m) 4 0 15 Portsmouth, England Portsmouth, England L'Esprit d'Equipe, France Lionel Péan, France
1989–90 51–84 ft (16–26 m) 6 0 23 Southampton, England Southampton, England Steinlager 2, New Zealand Peter Blake, New Zealand
1993–94 85 ft (26 m) ketchs
& Whitbread 60
6 0 14 Southampton, England Southampton, England NZ Endeavour, New Zealand Grant Dalton, New Zealand
1997–98 Whitbread 60 9 0 10 Southampton, England Southampton, England EF Language, Sweden Paul Cayard, American
2001–02 10 0 8 Southampton, England Kiel, Germany Illbruck Challenge, German John Kostecki, American
2005–06 Volvo Open 70 9 7 7 Vigo, Spain Gothenburg, Sweden ABN Amro I, Netherlands Mike Sanderson, New Zealand
2008–09 10 7 8 Alicante, Spain Saint Petersburg, Russia Ericsson 4, Sweden Torben Grael, Brazil
2011–12 9 10 6 Alicante, Spain Galway, Ireland Groupama 4, France Franck Cammas, France
2014–15 Volvo One-Design 9 10 7 Alicante, Spain Gothenburg, Sweden TBD TBD
2017–18 TBC TBC TBC TBA TBA TBD TBD

1973–74 Whitbread Round the World Race[edit]

The first Whitbread Round the World Race started off from Portsmouth, England on 8 September 1973. Seventeen yachts of various sizes and rigs took part. During the race three sailors were swept over board and died: Paul Waterhouse, Dominique Guillet and Bernie Hosking. Waterhouse and Guillet were never to be seen again.[10] The crew of the Mexican yacht Sayula II, a brand new Swan 65 owned and skippered by Mexican Captain Ramón Carlin, successfully won the overall race in 133 days and 13 hours. Her actual time was 152 days.[11][12]

Leg Start Finish Leg winner Skipper
1 Portsmouth, England Cape Town, South Africa Sayula II Ramón Carlin
2 Cape Town, South Africa Sydney, Australia Pen Duick VI Éric Tabarly
3 Sydney, Australia Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Great Britain II Chay Blyth
4 } Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Portsmouth, England Sayula II Ramón Carlin

1977–78 Whitbread Round the World Race[edit]

On August 27, 1977, 15 boats started out from Southampton for the Whitbread Round the World Race under gale force winds and driving rain. Most of the second Whitbread Race was dominated by a tight race between Swan 65 King's Legend and Flyer. The maxi ketch Flyer was designed by Sparkman & Stephens and built at the W. Huisman shipyard in 1977 for skipper Cornelius van Rietschoten. She won the race. All 15 boats finished the 26,780-nautical-mile (49,600 km) race. Great Britain II was winner on elapsed time for the second race in succession.[13]

Leg Start Finish Leg winner elapsed time Leg winner corrected time
1 Southampton, England Cape Town, South Africa Flyer Flyer
2 Cape Town, South Africa Auckland, New Zealand Heath's Condor 33 Export
3 Auckland, New Zealand Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Great Britain II Gauloise II
4 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Southampton, England Heath's Condor Gauloise II

1981–82 Whitbread Round the World Race[edit]

On August 8, 1981, 29 boats started out from Southampton for the Whitbread Round the World Race. The maxi yacht Flyer II was designed by Germán Frers and built at the W. Huisman shipyard in 1981 for skipper Cornelius van Rietschoten. In an unusual feat, she won the race both on line honours and on handicap. Only 20 finished the race out of the 29 that started it.[14]

Leg Start Finish Leg winner elapsed time Leg winner corrected time
1 Southampton, England Cape Town, South Africa Flyer II Kriter IX
2 Cape Town, South Africa Auckland, New Zealand Flyer II Ceramco NZ
3 Auckland, New Zealand Mar del Plata, Argentina Flyer II Mor Bihan
4 Mar del Plata, Argentina Portsmouth, England Flyer II Ceramco NZ

1985–86 Whitbread Round the World Race[edit]

L'esprit d'équipe and SAS Baia Viking in Punta del Este, 1986

On 28 September 1985, 15 boats started out from Southampton for the Whitbread Round the World Race. L'Esprit d'Equipe skippered by Lionel Péan won the race in a corrected time of 111 days 23 hours. Phillips Innovator was second, and Swan 651 Fazer Finland third. (UBS Switzerland was named first on elapsed time, with Lion New Zealand as runner-up. Drum (carrying owner/pop star Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran) finished just a breath behind.[15]

Leg Start Finish Leg winner
elapsed time
Leg winner
corrected time
1 Southampton, England Cape Town, South Africa UBS Switzerland L'Esprit d'Equipe
2 Cape Town, South Africa Auckland, New Zealand Atlantic Privateer Philips Innovator
3 Auckland, New Zealand Punta del Este, Uruguay UBS Switzerland L'Esprit d'Equipe
4 Punta del Este, Uruguay Portsmouth, England UBS Switzerland L'Esprit d'Equipe

1989–90 Whitbread Round the World Race[edit]

The Whitbread Round the World Race was run with several classes (for size of boat). This race featured the first all-woman crew on Tracy Edwards' Maiden. Although in a much smaller boat than many of their male counterparts the women fared well-claiming two leg victories in class.

Final standings[16]
Pos Boat Nat Skipper LOA/Des Aggregate
1 Steinlager 2  New Zealand Peter Blake (NZ) 84' Ketch 128 d 9 h
2 Fisher & Paykel NZ  New Zealand Grant Dalton (NZ) 82' Ketch 129 d 21 h
3 Merit   Switzerland Pierre Fehlmann (F) 80' Sloop 130 d 10 h
4 Rothmans  United Kingdom Lawrie Smith (GB) 80' Sloop 131 d 4 h
5 The Card  Sweden Roger Nilson / Ann Lippens (S) 80' Ketch 135 d 7 h
9 Union Bank of Finland  Finland Ludde Ingvall (FIN) 72' Sloop 138 d 16 h
11 Fazisi  Soviet Union Alexi Grischenko / Skip Novak / Valeri Alekseyev 83' Sloop 139 d
18 Maiden  United Kingdom Tracy Edwards (GB) 58' Sloop 167 d 3 h
21 La Poste  France Daniel Mallé (F) 51' Ketch 181 d 22 h

The boat Creighton's Naturally suffered a serious broach on leg 2, at about 3 in the morning. Crew members Anthony (Tony) Philips and Bart van den Dwey were swept over board. They were both pulled back on deck. Van den Dwey successfully resuscitated, but, after three hours of trying, crewmembers were unable to revive Philips. A few days later, by radio agreement with relatives ashore, Philips was buried at sea.[17]

Leg Winners
Leg Start Finish Leg winner Skipper
1 Southampton, England Punta del Este, Uruguay Steinlager 2 Peter Blake(NZ)
2 Punta del Este, Uruguay Fremantle, Australia Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
3 Fremantle, Australia Auckland, New Zealand Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
4 Auckland, New Zealand Punta del Este, Uruguay Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
5 Punta del Este, Uruguay Fort Lauderdale, USA Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
6 Fort Lauderdale, USA Southampton, England Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)

Steinlager 2 skippered by Peter Blake won the race easily. For the first time since 1981 to 1982 (when the race comprised just four legs), the victor won every leg (albeit closely chased by both Grant Dalton's Fisher & Paykel NZ and Pierre Fehlmann's Merit entries). The vast difference in speed and capability of the many different boats involved in the 1989 to 1990 race lead to the creation of a committee to examine the commission of a Whitbread class boat for use in future races. Many of the Maxi yachts in this year's race were nearly twice the size (LOA) of the smallest, and carried well over twice the sail area. The net result of this was that many of the smaller boats finished the longer legs more than ten days after the leg winner. In the overall results, the last finisher was some 52 days behind Blake's Steinlager 2 128 day aggregate time. In addition, the expense of the big yachts was getting to be too much – even for the well funded teams like Steinlager, Rothmans and Merit. Eventually, the new class would be called the W60 – but its gestation would not be quick or lack controversy.

1993–94 Whitbread Round the World Race[edit]

The 1993 to 1994 Whitbread Round the World Race was run to "mixed class" rules (as with prior races). New for the 93/4 race was a purpose built Whitbread boat—the W60. As with previous years a handicap was applied to different boats based on their race rating. The competitors were none too keen or running both Maxis and W60's together. The two competing classes battled throughout with protest flags always at the ready. Many entrants wanted the old maxis banned for this year, however owing to concerns over whether enough new boats would be ready (not to mention the large investments the Maxi owners had made in previous years), several Maxis were allowed to compete in the 1993 to 1994 race. The W60 skippers almost unanimously insisted they were in a 'completely different boat race', to the fury of Grant Dalton skippering a maxi. Dalton conceded afterwards however that the race should only have one class in future, to avoid similar squabbles.

Final standings
Pos Boat Nat Skipper Class Aggregate
1 NZ Endeavour  New Zealand Grant Dalton (NZ) Maxi 120 d 5 h
2 Yamaha  Japan/ New Zealand Ross Field (NZ) W60 120 d 14 h
3 Merit Cup  United Kingdom Pierre Fehlmann (F) Maxi 121 d 2 h
4 Intrum Justitia Europe Roger Nilson (S) / Lawrie Smith (GB) W60 121 d 5 h
5 Galicia 93 Pescanova  Spain Javier de la Gandara (Esp) W60 122 d 6 h
6 Winston  United States Dennis Conner (USA) /Brad Butterworth (NZ) W60 122 d 9 h
7 La Poste  France Éric Tabarly (F) Maxi 123 d 22 h
8 Tokio  Japan Chris Dickson (NZ) W60 128 d 16 h
9 Brooksfield  Italy Guido Maisto (I) W60 130 d 4 h
10 Hetman Sahaidachny  Ukraine Eugene Platon (Ukr) W60 135 d 23 h
11 Reebok/Dolphin Youth  United Kingdom Mathew Humphries (GB) W60 137 d 21 h
12 Heineken  United States Dawn Riley (USA) W60 138 d 16 h
13 Odessa  Ukraine Anatoly Verba (Ukr) W60 158 d 4 h
NF Fortuna  Spain Lawrie Smith (GB) Maxi WD
Full details of finishing positions can be found in: Media Guide: 5. History

Intrum Justitia was originally skippered by Roger Nilson, who was injured on the first leg.

  • Corrected time takes the boat's handicap into account.

Leg Winners:

Leg Start Finish Leg winner Skipper
1 Southampton, England Punta del Este, Uruguay NZ Endeavour Grant Dalton (NZ)
2 Punta del Este, Uruguay Fremantle, Australia Intrum Justitia Lawrie Smith (GB)
3 Fremantle, Australia Auckland, New Zealand NZ Endeavour Grant Dalton (NZ)
4 Auckland, New Zealand Punta del Este, Uruguay NZ Endeavour Grant Dalton (NZ)
5 Punta del Este, Uruguay Fort Lauderdale, USA Yamaha Ross Field (NZ)
6 Fort Lauderdale, USA Southampton, England Tokio Chris Dickson (NZ)

References[edit]

External links[edit]