Since 1972, the Volvo Ocean Race has seen over 200 yachts race against each other every four years. Originally called the Whitbread Round the World Race, the development of the race began with two men, Colonel Bill Whitbread and Admiral Otto Steiner. With 19 entries, the first race had such a great success of spectators that they knew they had something special on their hands.
Technology has come a long way since the ‘70s and in competitive yachting the change was quite apparent. A few decades ago, sailors had little to no knowledge as to where their competitors were. However, with the development of satellite equipment sailors are able to find the positioning of other yachts. Furthermore, yachts are far from the luxurious ones that had ample space at the dawn of the race. Now there is little to no room for crewmembers. All space is dedicated to equipment, hardware, and to making the yacht as light and sleek as possible. Crews don’t even bring fresh food onto the boat; it is freeze dried.
The first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race is well underway which started on October 19, 2014 in Spain. With sailors from China, Ireland, Switzerland, and other locations, we can see how sailing is truly an international sport. There are Olympic medalists and sailing champions all vying for the title of champion.
With the first three legs already behind us, the fourth leg is going to be very exciting. The current standings as of January 3, 2015:
- 1st Place - Dongfeng Race Team
- 2nd Place - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
- 3rd Place - Team Alvimedica
This year we have a brand new yacht — the Volvo Ocean 65 Class — a redesigned one-design boat
. With a higher-performance than the 2005/2006 season’s Volvo Open 70, the newer yacht allows for lower costs to sailors which in turn allows them to focus on the race.
On February 8, the fourth leg of the race began in China, which could take sailors through the Luzon Strait, Tasman Sea, and will finish in New Zealand.
Are you following the Volvo Ocean Race? Share with us your predictions on our Facebook page.