VOLVO OCEAN RACERS
The Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) is a yacht race around the world, held every four years. Though the route is changed to accommodate various ports of call, the race typically departs England in September. The general route runs south through the Atlantic Ocean, around the tip of Africa, and then around the Southern Ocean. The worst weather conditions are usually encountered in this leg, where waves sometimes top 100 feet (30 m) and winds can reach 60 knots (110 km/h). Competitors eventually round Cape Horn and turn back into the Atlantic for the trip back to England. The route generally covers in excess of 28,000 statute miles (45,000 km) over open ocean.
Nelson Kruschandl - designer
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 Race". The race has been greatly modified in the ensuing thirty odd years, but remains true to its original goal: A test of will, courage and skill against the best (or more accurately, worst) nature has to offer. Along with the Vendee Globe and Global Challenge, the Whitbread (now Volvo Ocean Race) is the ultimate sailing adventure.
Volvo Ocean Race 2005 to 2006
Changes in the 2005-2006 race included the first time the race has started outside the United Kingdom, and the use of a new class of boat, the Volvo Open 70. The new boats are about 1,000 kg lighter than the VO 60s used in the previous race, have more sail area and include canting keels.
The 2005-2006 race is the first to not begin in the United Kingdom. The course, 31,000 nautical miles (57,000 km) long, will take eight months to complete, divided into nine legs. The first place finisher of each leg will get 7 points, the second place will get 6 points, etc. At seven of the stops in ports around the world, the competition will include relatively short one-day races in the vicinity of the harbor.
The first place finisher of the in-port races will get 3.5 points, the second place finisher will get 3 points, etc. The in-port races will account for twenty percent of the overall points. This modification of the usual format was intended to make the race more visible for spectators and sponsors. Some of the legs are short, and finish in cities that are called "pit stops" designed to break up the longer legs into more manageable sections (and, of course, provide more media exposure). There will be no in-port races at the pit stops. There will also be 6 "gates" which are milestones along the way where boats can score points. Like in the in-port races, the first boat to cross a gate will get 3.5 points, the second 3 points, and so on.
Movistar being lifted into water Cadiz
The course and schedule
Teams and crew
The 2005/2006 race has tighter restrictions on the number of crewmembers allowed than previous runnings. In the rules, an all-male crew is restricted to nine, while a crew with at least 5 women could have ten members, and an all-female crew, of which there are none in the race, could have eleven. Unfortunately, the only woman currently serving as crew is Adrienne Cahalan of Brasil 1. The skipper may nominate one additional person for the in-port races. Only one boat can be built per team (unless you sail both of them in the race, as ABN AMRO has done).
Specifications for the Volvo Open 70 boat
There are several differences between the boats that have been built and are racing. The basic differences are whether they have 1 or two rudders, how wide the boats are (there are limits), whether they have 2 dagger boards or one canard with a trim tab (each appendage can only have one degree of movement, so it can not retract and have a trim tab), and whether or not they have a spinnaker pole.
The ABN AMRO boats both have 2 rudders, both are pretty wide, have two dagger boards, and do not have spinnaker poles.
The Farr designed boats (Brasil 1, Ericsson, movistar, and Pirates of the Caribbean) all have 1 rudder and two dagger boards, and are narrower than the other boats, but vary a little from Brasil 1 which is the narrowest to movistar, which is the widest Farr-designed boat. Pirates does not have a spinnaker pole.
ING Real Estate Brunel has 2 rudders, is pretty wide, and has a forward canard with a trim tab.
In-port 1 at Sanxenxo
The first racing in the 2005-2006 VOR, an in-port race, was held in very light winds. Sunergy and Friends (Premier Challange) did not race due to arriving late the night before, and not being ready to measure in yet.
Gate 1 at Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha
The first leg is underway. 5 of the 7 boats have passed the first waypoint. 4 boats have experienced gear failure, 2 of which are now in port to make repairs.
Leg 1 finish at Cape Town
Cape Town in-port race
This in-port race was run in strong winds and short, steep waves. The wind was gusting up to 40kts (~50mph) and some of the boats had a hard time keeping control. When they were sailing, though, they were sailing fast. One helmsman commented that they hit 38 kts.
Gate 2 at Kerguelen Islands
Gate 3 at Eclipse Island
Leg 2 finish at Melbourne
In-port 3 at Melbourne
Leg 3 finish at Wellington
Gate 4 at Cape Horn
Leg 4 finish at Rio de Janeiro
In-port 4 at Rio de Janeiro
Gate 5 at Archipelago of Fernando de Noronha
Leg 5 finish at Baltimore
In-port 5 at Baltimore
Leg 6 finish at New York
Gate 6 at Lizard Point
Leg 7 finish at Portsmouth
In-port 6 at Portsmouth
Leg 8 finish at Rotterdam
In-port 7 at Rotterdam
Leg 9 finish at Gothenburg
Movistar crew working hard en route to Melbourne
The VOR has a dedicated media center where they will produce television programs for broadcast around the world.
With the Volvo Ocean Race due to start on Saturday November 12, 2006, the first programme is set to be delivered to broadcasters on Thursday 17 November and will have in port action and start amongst other items.
In the UK, ITV4 will carry the half hour programmes from the event on Friday nights at 1800. From January, ITV1 will carry a monthly hour long round up programme on Sundays at 1300.
In Australia Channel Ten is our partner and will carry the weekly programmes at 2330 on Monday nights.
TV3 will be the broadcaster in NZ with coverage starting in January on their weekend sports show on Sundays.
In USA CNBC decided not to broadcast any of the race. US fans will have to wait for an hour long special in July 2006 on ABC and ESPN.
In Norway programmes will be broadcast on NRK on Fridays at 2100 and Saturdays at 2300.
In Spain the start coverage will be live on TVE2 and TV Galicia on Saturday with weekly shows on TVE2 at 2030.
In Italy Rai Sat will have transmit the programmes on Mondays at 2230hrs and will have regular reports in weekend sports shows on the main RAI channel.
In Holland, NOS are broadcasting reports from the race every Sunday in Studio Sport
In Finland, CHA4 will be showing reports at 1130 on Saturdays.
In Russia, NTV Plus will be transmitting a preview at 2130 on 15 November and then every Tuesday at 2200.
In South Africa it will be transmitted on Sundays at 2100hrs on Super Sport.
Whitbread 1973 to 1974
The first race started off from Portsmouth, England onSeptember 8, 1973. Seventeen yachts of various sizes and shapes took part. During the race three sailors were swept over board, never to be seen again.
Sayula II skippered by Ramon Carlin won the overall race in a time of 133 days 13 hours.
Whitbread 1977 to 1978
On August 27, 1977, 15 boats started out from Southampton under gale force winds and driving rain.
Flyer a Sparkman & Stephens designed yacht skippered by Cornelius van Rietschoten won the race. All 15 boats finished the 26,780 nautical mile (50,000 km) race.
Whitbread 1981 to 1982
On August 8, 1981, 29 boats started out from Southampton.
Flyer, a German Frers designed maxi skippered by Cornelius van Rietschoten (a.k.a Conny van Rietschoten), winner of the 1977 to 1978 race, won the race. Unusually, Flyer won both on line honours AND on handicap. Only 20 finished the race out of the 29 that started it.
Whitbread 1985 to 1986
On September 28, 1985, 15 boats started out from Southampton.
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 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) finished just a breath behind.)
Whitbread 1989 to 1990
1989 to 1990 Overall final standings
The 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 ladies fared well—claiming two leg victories in class. The tradition of the Whitbread including an all-female crew remains to this day.
1989 to 1990 Leg winners
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 & Payskel 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 years 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.
Whitbread 1993 to 1994
The 1993 to 1994 Whitbread 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.
1993 to 1994 Final Standings
Intrum Justitia was originally skippered by Roger Nillson, who was injured on the first leg.
Whitbread 1997 to 1998
Race run for the first time with all W60 boats and to a "points vs time" (instead of aggregate leg time) scoring system to enhance the value of the shorter race legs. Also, in an effort to attract additional media coverage, the Whitbread race committee divided the race into no less than 9 legs for the 1997 to 1998 race. Volvo had its first major association with the race in 1997 to 1998 by sponsoring the trophy (thus the race was officially known as the Whitbread 'round the world race for the Volvo Trophy) and some of the media coverage. For the first time running to W60-only specification, this year's Whitbread attracted just 10 entries—the fewest to date.
Volvo Ocean Race 2001 to 2002
For the 2001 to 2002 race the sponsorship of the race being taken over by Volvo and Volvo Cars. The race was renamed the Volvo Ocean Race. Stopovers were added in Germany, France, and Sweden being the Volvo's three biggest car markets in Europe. In addition the points system had been modified significantly in an effort to keep the race competitive until the final leg. The previous "points" race having been effectively won two full legs before the final gun.
2001 to 2002 Overall final standings
John Kostecki, who had co-skippered with George Collins on Chessie Racing in the 1997 to 1998 Whitbread to great effect, captained his first Volvo Ocean race winner in 2002. Assa Abloy's new composite mold technique proved very quick, but not quite quick enough, while long time Whitbread skipper Grant Dalton's two boat syndicate suffered badly from a lack of preparation time (the Amer boats were last in the water).
For Leg 3, yachts joined the iconic Australian Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race that begins on Boxing Day.