During the last 6 months, 7 teams have been competing in the hardest race in the world on the toughest conditions and now there are only 2 months left of this amazing journey. Find out what has happened so far and what’s next to come.
The Volvo Ocean Race this year began in Alicante, Spain on October 22nd 2017 and since then the teams have sailed 40.000nm all the way to Newport, RI going through Lisbon, Capetown, Melbourne, Hong-Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland and Itajaí.
This edition of the race will be the longest course in the history of the race, having a total of 45,000nm and it will feature almost three times as much Southern Ocean racing, around 12.500 nm.
WHAT ARE THE SOUTHERN OCEANS?
The Southern Ocean refers to the ring of ocean that circles Antarctica, it is the fourth biggest ocean in the world. The Southern Ocean is notorious for having some of the strongest winds and largest waves on the planet. Conquering these almost mythical, southernmost waters of the planet has long been a badge of honour for the world’s best sailors.
Photo: Sam Greenfield
During Leg 7 of the race, while the teams were on their way to Newport from Itajaí Simon Fisher from Vestas 11th Hour Racing team said: "I think this has probably been the toughest Southern Ocean leg on record for quite some time. I am on my fifth race so far and I don't remember one as hard. So we are looking forward to getting there."
WHAT HAS HAPPENED WITH OUR TEAMS?
Vestas 11th Hour Racing:
This has been a particularly challenging race for our teams, especially for Vestas 11th Hour Racing as they have had to overcome an unfortunate accident when fighting for first place on Leg 4 arriving to Hong Kong and during Leg 7 after going through the Southern Oceans and rounding cape-horn the team suffered a dismasting approximately 100 miles southeast of the Falkland Islands.
This two incidents had a big impact on the team in every way and as they lost 4 Legs, they had to retire 2 times and weren't able to compete in other 2 because they where fixing the boat, their position on the scoreboard was affected - where they are now in 5th place behind team Akzonobel by 8 points.
The team rounding Cape Horn
Working on the boat in the Falkland Islands.
Delivery crew and sailing team meet for the handover before the boat departs for the 1,500-mile journey to Itajai with the temporary mast.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing departs the Falklands with a temporary mast to help stabilize the boat and provide support for the 1500 mile motor to Itajai - The journey took 9 days.
"It would not have been possible without the sailors and locals preparing the boat so well in the Falklands," said Diego Torrado, Vestas 11th Hour Racing shore team manager, who also took part in the delivery to Itajaí. “We are so thankful for the amazing, experienced delivery crew onboard. It was fun and hard, but now we have the boat in Itajaí with five days to get it ready for the next leg."
Vestas 11th Hour Racing sails into Itajai with modified sails and a jury rig.
"This team is an incredible group of people and I think you only really see that when you face adversity and we've certainly had a lot of adversity in the last couple of months but the teams spirit still remains strong and everyone is really motivated to get back in the water and win the next leg into Newport." - Mark Towill
Even though they've had a very trying and challenging race, V11HR team will not give up and are more motivated than ever for what's left of the race...
"The fact of the matter is we haven't scored a point in 2018 - and while that is disappointing - it has not shaken our resolve... Now we are going to fight really hard for a good position into Newport." - Skipper Charlie Enright
Photo: Martin Keruzoré
Turn The Tide on Plastic:
This team has played a crucial role during this race because of it's strong sustainability message to raise awareness on plastic pollution in our oceans and inspire people to take action in their day to day lives.
Being a mixed, youth focused team where the majority of the sailors do not have experience on races like the Volvo Ocean Race it has been a particular challenge for them in the water... But this has not been a problem for them as they have shown to have a lot to offer! They have been "leading the pack" in several occasions during the different legs, but unfortunately their efforts and way of sailing has not been reflected on the general scoreboard, where they are in 7th place right behind the Scallywag team.
“The Volvo Ocean Race is the ultimate test of a team in sport,” Caffari said. “With the ambition to race with a youth-orientated international mixed crew we are looking to make an impact on and off the water. It’s an honour to represent this landmark campaign, and to lead the team on such a prestigious platform is exciting.” - Skipper Dee Caffari
TTOP rounding Cape Horn
As their main goal is to raise awareness on plastic pollution in our oceans, this team is competing with more load than the others on the boat, as they have on board a state-of-the-art instrument used to collect new information on ocean plastic pollution.
The latest Volvo Ocean Race groundbreaking Science Programme results discovered the greatest levels of plastic particles near Melbourne and Hong Kong using this instrument.
A TRAGIC LOSS
On March 26th at 13:42 UTC approximately 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn John Fisher, crew member of Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag Team fell overboard, and after an extensive and exhaustive search conducted by the team for several hours in extremely challenging weather conditions, unfortunately they were unable to recover their teammate.
John Fisher portrait by Ainoha Sanchez
A heart-breaking tragedy that happened during Leg 7 in one of the most extreme situations of the race. We are deeply saddened by the news and offer our condolences to the Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag team and John's family and friends.
"If you’re lucky enough to get the chance to do a race like this, everyone should grab it, I think. It isn’t for everyone, but you should always challenge yourself."
- John Fisher (1970 - 2018)
WHAT'S NEXT ON THE VOLVO OCEAN RACE?
There are only 3 legs left of the race and the fight for a podium finish in each is getting tighter by the minute. Stay tuned for further news and information about the race!