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VOR 17-18 • Leg Zero

MAPFRE: 29 points in Leg Zero series

Spanish team MAPFRE completed overall Leg Zero victory in the early hours of Wednesday (16 August) and struck the first psychological blow in the build-up to the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

But what the Leg Zero series of qualifiers confirmed above all is that all the teams boasting race experience and/or preparation time are extremely closely matched.

The newer teams know they have more work to do, but there are still plenty of positives to take from the progress they have made – and they still have time to close the gap with more than two months to go before the race starts from Alicante on 22 October.

Charlie Enright’s Vestas 11th Hour Racing became the third team to grab a victory from four stages in Leg Zero – a series of pre-race qualifying stages for the next edition of the round-the-world race – as they sneaked ahead of MAPFRE in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

With team AkzoNobel also overtaking MAPFRE to grab second place, it was more proof that the leaders will always have to watch their backs. For experienced teams and new entries alike, Leg Zero has proved to be an extremely valuable test.

The teams faced a variety of conditions, from a rough rounding of the Isle of Wight in conditions that Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari described as ‘almost as hard as the Southern Ocean’; a classic Rolex Fastnet Race; a quick sprint from Plymouth to Saint-Malo and an agonising drift in the leg from Saint-Malo to Lisbon, which eventually led to the stage being split in two and then brought to a premature close at 0430 UTC on Wednesday.

Enright was particularly satisfied to be able to grab an early victory heading into the 2017-18 edition.

“There may never be another one quite like that, but we'll take it,” said the American. “We've been improving every day we spend on the boat together and it's nice to see that improvement manifest itself in the form of a win.”

First-time skipper Simeon Tienpont on team AkzoNobel said after the series finish: "We knew already it’s close action but definitely learnt how important it is to have the routine on board right and keep everyone focused all the time." After months of training together in all conditions MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández is eager for his team to recuperate before attacking the final preparations. “One of the things we have to do now is have a good rest because it has been a lot of work over this last month,” he said.

“Then we work on the small details of the boat, do the last push in the gym, make sure everyone is healthy, then be focused on the start. There will be no rest for British skipper Dee Caffari as Turn the Tide on Plastic – carrying the message of the United Nations Environment Clean Seas campaign – will be running at full speed in order to finalise their crew selection. They may be playing catch-up but the 50/50 male/female, predominantly youth team, can certainly challenge the rest of the fleet as they proved in the last 48 hours: “To actually lead the fleet in this final stage of Leg Zero was absolutely awesome. The confidence it gave the team, you could see it, and the focus, the intensity, everyone raised their game because they could see the other boats so close.”

With only 53 days remaining until the start of the Prologue from Lisbon to Alicante, now is the time for the teams to complete their final training at sea, their sponsor engagements and safety training.

These few weeks will be precious for Hong Kong entry Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, who had less than a week of training before starting Leg Zero. Skipper David Witt and his team have years of experience of sailing together and will now redouble their efforts to extract the best from their One Design Volvo Ocean 65.

“The racing on Leg Zero has shown us what we’re strong at, what we’re weak at,” said Witt. “MAPFRE have dominated, they’ve shown everybody how strong they are and they’ve set the bar where we’ve all got to get to. We are not weak in all areas – there are some areas we are quite good at. It’s good to find this out now rather than on Leg 2 of the race. And now we’ve got five weeks to fix, I’ve got a pretty good idea how to fix it and now we’ve just got to get on with it.”

While it’s tempting to label MAPFRE as favourites going into the race, none of the skippers will be taking anything for granted. “I think Dongfeng is well prepared and they have been working hard all the winter as well," said MAPFRE's Xabi.

"The new teams, like AkzoNobel, are coming together with some good experience and improving every day they sail together. There is a good mix of crew across Brunel, very experienced and they will be very competitive.”

Charles Caudrelier, whose Dongfeng team finished second overall and won the Volvo Ocean 65 class in the Fastnet, added: “I think I am happy. I think we had a good speed and a good spirit onboard. I’m pretty sure we can do very well."

Standing on the dock in Alicante in a couple of months’ time, the crews will have 45,000 miles of sailing in front of them – and the knowledge that anything could happen. Leg Zero, overall final rankings:

  1. MAPFRE 29 points
  2. Dongfeng Race Team 24
  3. Team Brunel 23
  4. team AkzoNobel 22
  5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 20
  6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 13
  7. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag 9


VOR 17-18 • Official engine supplier

Volvo Penta engine back on duty

Designed to withstand the toughest conditions on Earth, the Volvo Penta D2-75 with Saildrive engines completed their first lap of the planet in the 2014-15 edition as an essential part of the One Design Volvo Ocean 65 boat.

In the next edition, starting 22 October, Volvo Penta will provide hands-on technical expertise 24/7 to the race teams as the fleet prepares to race three times more Southern Ocean miles than in recent editions.

Although the use of engines as a primary propulsion source is prohibited during racing, the D2-75 engine is a key part of life onboard – powering the boat’s total demand for electricity for computers, navigation equipment, lights and communications units.

Additionally, the engine onboard provides power to the batteries to run the water maker, supplies power to the hydraulic system for the canting keel – which provides extra counterweight when racing – and is a potentially lifesaving instrument in case of an emergency situation.

“The conditions of the Volvo Ocean Race are extreme and not only push the boats and sailing crew to the limit, but, also, all the equipment,” commented Mark Turner, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race. “These boats have been built for two editions of the race and we have so much faith in the condition of the engines that we have not replaced them; we are confident they are up for a second trip around the world.”


Nick Bice, Chief Technical Development Officer for the Volvo Ocean Race, added: “As a unique aspect for the Volvo Ocean Race, there are high energy requirements to provide power to laptops, camera and other media equipment, enabling the sailing teams to communicate directly from out at sea to the rest of the world. “The engine is critical 100% of the time. It is the main source of power onboard, which converts energy for which the teams rely upon to survive. They depend on the engine to deliver drinking water, which is essential when the teams are sailing for weeks at a time.”

Volvo Penta engineer Johannes Karlsson – with 16 years experience as a marine engineer, and backed by Volvo Penta’s global dealer network – will deliver full-time support to the event, travelling to every Host City around the world to deliver world-class engine support through The Boatyard.

The Boatyard is a unique shared service centre facility which ensures that all the Volvo Ocean 65s have access to the same level of maintenance and repairs after each leg of the race. Each of the seven Volvo Ocean 65s has recently undergone a comprehensive one million euro per boat refit process in Lisbon, Portugal – and an eighth, identical boat has been built by team AkzoNobel.

Volvo Penta is also providing its next generation of gasoline sterndrive engines and complete prop-to-helm equipment for new RIBs that will be used by the sailing teams at each city where the race stops around the world.

The V6 280 model has been provided, delivering the cleanest engines available on the market in the gasoline segment to the sailing teams. Additionally, Volvo Penta is delivering power generation for the newly designed Volvo Pavilion at each Host City around the world, providing prime power to support business operations, guest hospitality, and the high-tech environment inside. This same technology is used every day to deliver power to people and society around the world.

“Volvo Penta is a proud supplier to the Volvo Ocean Race providing solutions from both our marine and industrial product portfolios,” says Björn Ingemanson, president of Volvo Penta. “We use existing, leading technology, available on the market today for our customers, depending on it to work in the toughest of environments – the world’s most extreme sailing competition.”• 5/17

The Volvo Ocean Race begins on 22 October 2017 in Alicante and will visit a further 11 Host Cities around the planet – visiting Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg, before a big finish in The Hague in summer 2018.


VOR 17-18 • New designs

Monohull-Multihull future unveiled

The Volvo Ocean Race has solved the question of whether its future should be monohull or multihull – by opting for both. The introduction of a foil-assisted 60-foot (18.29 metre) monohull for the ocean legs plus an ultra-fast 32-50 foot (10-15m) flying catamaran for us€e inshore will elevate the race to the ultimate all-round test in professional sailing.

The race announced the next generation of One Design boats – to be introduced in 2019 and designed for use over at least six years ­– as the centrepiece of its vision for the next decade which significantly raises the game in both sporting terms and commercial value.


“We had a lot of debate about multihull versus monohull – strong arguments in both directions. We decided on three hulls – a monohull plus catamaran!” Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner revealed at a special event at the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, home of the race’s co-owners Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group.

“This new formula for the Volvo Ocean Race will, for the first time, test world-class sailors at the top-end of both aspects of the sport – in what remains our core DNA offshore ocean racing on foil-assisted monohulls, plus inshore racing during the stopovers employing the latest ‘flying’ multihull technology.

“We’re using the best tool for each discipline. It’s going to push the sailors, and sailing teams overall, to levels they have never previously had to perform at in order to win one of sailing’s ultimate prizes.”

To win the Volvo Ocean Race in the future will demand expertise in both monohull on the offshore ocean legs and multihull racing in the In Port Series, as both platforms will be raced by essentially the same crew. Currently the In-Port series counts only as a tiebreaker in the case of equal points at the final finish line – in 2014-15 it actually changed the overall positions for two teams, confirming that it was already critical to do well even as a tiebreaker.

In the future, the In-Port series will take slightly more importance again, but without changing the fact that it’s the ocean legs that count for the lion’s share of the points. France’s in-demand Guillaume Verdier is designing the new monohull, which will use the very latest in foiling technology and is essentially a turbo charged IMOCA 60.

The plan is that the design will include an option for the platform to be convertible, relatively quickly and inexpensively, to a short-handed rules-compliant IMOCA boat, able to compete in other major events on the IMOCA circuit such as the solo Vendée Globe and two-up Barcelona World Race.

A tender process opened today for the design and build of catamarans (32-50 foot; 10-15 metre) which will be built to a strict One Design rule like the monohulls, permitting much of the very latest ‘flying’ technology to be built in, but at relatively low cost.

“The America’s Cup, one of the other pinnacles of our sport, will always be at the absolute cutting edge development wise, with incredible technology leaps that we will see first-hand in Bermuda next week which are quite stunning,” said Turner. “We have seen the same technological advances in the IMOCA class with the introduction of foils in the recent Vendée Globe.

“Our goal with the Volvo Ocean Race is to set the bar as high as we can within the confines of existing campaign budgets, and within the context of One Design – where one is obliged to lock the technology level for each race cycle.”

Initial builds will be 8 of each mono and multihull, and will be made available to teams on a lease basis, thereby removing the asset purchase barrier that often prevents teams start-up, with sponsors involved in the upcoming 2017-18 edition getting first option.

The first of the new boats will be completed by January 2019, with the whole fleet ready by the middle of that year. Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy will lead the construction of the new monohull and the race’s own team of boat builders and experts at The Boatyard will complete the final fit-out, at a location to be confirmed as part of the Host City Tender process.

While it will be strictly One Design, there will be a lot to play with and learn on these new machines – plenty of scope for ‘tinkerability’ by the teams in terms of the way the boat is set up to race. Possible evolutions in between editions will be built in as far as possible to the concept from the start.

“The new boats will be delivered on a lease basis, and along with the growing package of benefits provided centrally by the race, we expect budgets to be at a similar level today,” explained Race CEO Mark Turner.

Those team budgets are at an average of 10-12m euros spread over two years, including several million normally attributable to activation costs.

“The provision of central services and equipment allows the sailors to concentrate on winning the race on the water, rather than duplicating costs across the campaigns,” Turner continued.

“Teams and sponsors are going to have to act quickly because we do expect these exciting new boats to sell out quickly. The Notice of Race, Commercial Partnership Agreement, and Boat Lease for the next edition will be published before this upcoming 2017-8 race starts in October.”

Verdier, who is currently finalising plans for the next generation boat alongside his team of designers, said: “I’m extremely excited to be trusted with the task of delivering the next generation of Volvo Ocean Race boat. Volvo Ocean Race sailors have a reputation as relentless athletes who push extremely hard and the future boat design reflects that.

“For that reason, it’s important to retain a certain level of safety in the design, which is especially key due to the places the fleet races through, such as the Southern Ocean.

“Given their reputation, we know that Volvo Ocean Race sailors are unlikely to retract the foils, and where many single-handed sailors might slow down, they won’t.

“With that in mind, it’s a huge challenge to design a machine that is both extraordinary to sail, but also safe at the same time.”

Crew numbers will be between 5 and 7, plus the OnBoard Reporter, and rules will continue to include incentives for mixed male-female crews and youth sailors.

Speaking about the key decision on boat design, Turner also said that in the longer term, the race could even go fully multihull.

“Following our detailed discussions this time around, there is no longer any kind of conceptual barrier to the Volvo Ocean Race going multihull offshore in six years’ time, a decision to make just 3 to 4 years from now. We came very close to going that route this time.

“In the next decade, it’s very possible that we’ll see multihulls from the new French Ultime class racing across the oceans, most of the time flying above the water, rather than on it – a significantly greater challenge than doing so inshore in flatter water.

“But ultimately, we felt that it was too early in the development curve, especially when building a large One Design fleet, to jump in to this now. Modifying an entire fleet with every technology step is not realistic.” • 18/5/17


VOR 17-18 • Global Team Challenge

Leadership Development and Team Performance Programme

The Volvo Ocean Race will embed a comprehensive Leadership Development and Team Performance Programme in future editions, based on the hard-earned experience of the pro sailors and including a ‘Global Team Challenge’ race to provide the ultimate team development opportunity for stakeholders.

Sponsors have often asked skippers and crew to provide insights into the way they handle high-stress issues of leadership and teamwork during the Volvo Ocean Race.

In response to the clear demand, the race will formalise these learnings and make them available to businesses with on-land and on-water elements. Launching in the edition after 2017-18, the Global Team Challenge will form the centerpiece of the on-water part of this HR focused programme.

This will also act as a new entry point for future sponsors of teams in the race. This race will provide the ultimate challenge for amateur sailors, including those with no prior experience, giving employees a unique experience of offshore and ocean racing, under the highest standards of training and management, but nonetheless in conditions close to those faced by the professionals.

There will be a significant pre-race programme of individual days to complement the on-land training, as well as pre-race training for crews. It will then shadow part of the Volvo Ocean Race route, and sponsors will be able to switch out their crew at every stopover to give more people an experience – and a challenge – of a lifetime. Race CEO Mark Turner highlighted the added value the programme will provide to team and race sponsors in different areas.

“The Leadership Development and Team Performance Programme is all about creating new business value for our stakeholders,” said Turner.

“The Global Team Challenge will be a big part of that and will provide an incredible way to offer leadership training, team building and incentives to employees. “It will also provide a key boost to Employer Branding – supporting talent recruitment and retention for global businesses – and creating unique B2B opportunities, for example in giving key clients the chance to do a leg as well as a chance for sponsors to give key target media a real experience and insight in to ocean racing themselves.”


Richard Mason, who competed in the race four times before going on to coach Team SCA in the last edition and then join the race organisation as Executive Director, said smart busnesses would get a lot out of the programme. “The Volvo Ocean Race drives human relationships from beginning to end,” explained Mason.

“You get to know your crew better than your own family, you see them scared for their lives at times. You see your team at their absolute best and absolute worst. “You’ll see that people have skills that will help you win but you need to know how to bring out the best in them, and it’s not always obvious.

“For a leadership or a management team to be looking into relationships that happen on these boats is smart. We’ve had CEOs who used to fly to every single Host City around the world to just sit in on our post-leg debriefs to understand the crew dynamics and learn from what was happening.”

The Global Team Challenge will be contested in the current fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s, detuned sufficiently to make it possible for non-professional sailors to handle them.

Each yacht will have 8 amateurs onboard, trained and led by 3 experienced professional sailors. Safety will be of paramount importance, not only with the 3-8 ratio of professionals to amateurs, but also in an extensive pre-challenge training period.

“There are so many parallels between running a business and entering a team in the Volvo Ocean Race,” said Race Director Phil Lawrence.

“Teamwork, leadership, managing challenging situations, setting targets, delivering on objectives – the issues faced by our teams are just the problems modern business face. They are amplified often 10-fold in the Volvo Ocean Race teams, with many lessons to share with teams under pressure in business.”

Volvo Ocean Race sailor Dee Caffari highlighted her own experience of being in demand by businesses to give insight based on her experience on Team SCA in the last edition.

“The value that companies can get from the team building and leadership is endless – as proved by how much we have all talked about it at conferences and after dinner speeches,” said Caffari. “There is a real appetite for this kind of platform. The sponsor buy-in will also be greater if they have this opportunity as engagement levels will rise and that will help enrich the activation during the race period itself.” • 5/17

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VOR 17-18 • Ocean health

Official Sustainability Programme

The Volvo Ocean Race has launched a major Sustainability Programme for the 2017-18 edition and beyond – signing partnerships with 11th Hour Racing, AkzoNobel and United Nations Environment, while outlining a series of commitments that focus on ocean health.

The race is putting sustainability at its heart and focusing on taking action to help ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ – the rapidly growing and critical problem of plastic polluting the ocean, highlighted by the United Nations Environment’s Clean Seas campaign that is being adopted by the Volvo Ocean Race.

There are three key pillars to the Volvo Ocean Race sustainability strategy: To minimise the race’s own footprint with a particular focus on reducing and where possible eliminating the use of single-use plastic by the teams, and in the Race Villages – a challenging task but one that will help to change behaviour by making it a focus.

To maximise the race’s impact using its global communications platform to spread awareness, an educational programme to change views, and a science programme, using the Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts to capture data while at sea and contribute to our understanding of the oceans in the most remote areas of the planet.

To leave a positive legacy wherever it goes, through many actions but in particular the creation of Ocean Summits to bring together science, government, sport and business, with an objective of getting attending parties to commit to new positive actions in this area. The three partnerships, announced in Gothenburg on Thursday during a major presentation on the race’s future, provide significant amplification of the race’s efforts.

11th Hour Racing will be the founding Principal Partner of the Sustainability Programme.


The partnership will allow the Volvo Ocean Race to work together with 11th Hour Racing on a wide spectrum of goals, from pioneering new approaches to tackling ocean plastic pollution issues, to providing a model of sustainable practices for the world of sports and event management; promoting change among sports fan as well as on a governmental level to foster long term planning around sustainability, particularly in relation to plastic consumption, waste and ocean health; and inspiring future generations.

This partnership will raise awareness on Ocean Health issues and promote solutions to the specific problem of plastic pollution. Volvo Ocean Race is committed to scaling up its activities right across the sustainability space.

The partnership will include the organisation of a series of Ocean Summits to build on the impact created in the last edition in 2014-15, and the production of educational content in the Race Villages at every Host City. The Summits will foster a space for dialogue, change and action among key stakeholders within governments, companies, education and scientific communities.

“11th Hour Racing and the Volvo Ocean Race are natural partners,” said Jeremy Pochman, Strategic Director and Co-Founder of 11th Hour Racing, a programme of The Schmidt Family Foundation which aims to increase our understanding of the oceans, find innovative solutions to the challenges that impact marine resources, and promote stewardship of the seas through strategic partnerships within the sailing and marine communities.

“Today we applaud a series of outstanding objectives and commitments around the broader concept of sustainability. This is the first milestone in a long term collaborative journey that will benefit the teams, increase the overall efficiency of the event, engage fans all over the world, benefit local and global communities, influence the sporting industry as a whole, and help restore and protect the health of our ocean and waterways.”

The race has signed a partnership with AkzoNobel to amplify its Sustainability programme.

The partnership – will focus in particular on educating people about reducing plastic use and protecting our oceans – will pro-actively build on the long-established commitment to sustainability of both parties.

“Our involvement with the Volvo Ocean Race and the participation of team AkzoNobel are a perfect fit with our Planet Possible sustainability strategy,” explained André Veneman, AkzoNobel’s Corporate Director of Sustainability.

“There’s a fundamental link between the sustainability goals of the race itself and our own efforts to achieve radical resource efficiency, such as offering sustainable and innovative products to customers that provide a positive social and environmental impact. So it makes perfect sense for us to support the fantastic Volvo Ocean Race sustainability programme being put together for the next race.”

The race will also collaborate with the United Nations to help support its ‘Clean Seas’ campaign.

The partnership with UN Environment will see the Volvo Ocean Race use its storytelling platform to amplify the Clean Seas campaign to ‘Turn the Tide on Plastics’ in the ocean, tackling the growing problem of marine litter.

Together, Volvo Ocean Race and UN Environment will draw attention to what is at stake – with one study predicting that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050 * if we do not act. Each of the Volvo Ocean 65s will carry the Clean Seas message on the boom and the race will amplify the campaign in all 12 Host Cities and across the globe, seeking strong commitments to combat marine litter from countries, cities and individuals alike.

"Marine plastic pollution is a global problem that needs global solutions. Through the #CleanSeas campaign, UN Environment is bringing together countries, companies and citizens who are committed to protect our oceans. We are so excited that Volvo Ocean Race has joined this effort and hope that through this partnership we will see even more commitments. Together, we can turn the tide on plastic," commented Erik Solheim, Executive Director, United Nations Environment.

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner explained the three pillars of the Volvo Ocean Race strategy.

“Firstly, we have to minimise our own impact and that’s true right across all of our operations. Specifically, we are trying to reduce, or eliminate where we can, single use plastics in our Race Villages and our own operations because that problem in its own right is a major one for the health of our oceans.

“Secondly, we are using our global communications platform to change other people’s views and other people’s behaviour in this respect.

“And, thirdly, our goal is to leave a legacy. We go to 12 Host Cities and in each location we are able to impact, influence, change views, and get new commitments while we are there from governments and business.

“We will use a series of Ocean Summits to bring science, politics, government and sport together to get them to commit to changing the way they behave or operate.”

Looking further ahead, the Volvo Ocean Race will use the One Design race boat platform to do everything possible to reduce and then eliminate fossil fuels on board the boats in the future.

The use of a hydro-generator for the first time during the 2017-18 edition should be a significant first step in reducing the use of fossil fuels, with race management able to mandate the use of the hydro-generators by each team.

The long-term vision will be to eliminate the use of fossil fuels on future boats, while maintaining the minimum energy onboard for safety and communications. The commitment to One Design for the new 60-foot foiling monohull unveiled at the Gothenburg announcement provides the best platform to make this happen in the fastest possible time.

One Design means some small compromises on performance can be made to help deliver better solutions in other areas – for example a small weight gain in a One Design fleet, impossible when teams are doing their own designs, can be imposed to allow a heavier but healthier energy source.

“Achieving zero fossil fuel while maintaining safety and communication capacity will take time as the technologies continue to develop,” commented the race’s CEO Mark Turner, “but the important thing is to have a clear goal and ambition.”

Also in 2017-18, the race opted to deliver to all teams the RIB support boats used for both performance management, safety and guest transfers – rather than each team sourcing their own. By managing the whole process and delivering centrally, the race has been able to switch everyone to using a low emission petrol engine from Volvo Penta – with the best-in-class energy efficiency and environment footprint currently available. Centralising non-performance elements of the teams’ operations has allowed many such savings in both energy footprint and cost. • 19/5/17


Over 700 artists involved in spectacles. (pix: Rick Tomlinson / VOR)

Opening day at Race Village
The crowd watching to opening acts. (pix: Rick Tomlinson / VOR)

Night party
Alicante' citizens filling the piers. (pix: Neolectum)

Pier 10 within the Race Village.
Pier 10 within the Race Village. (pix: Neolectum)

Volvo Ocean Race • Alicante • 2008

Spectacular opening ceremony before a crowd approaching 20,000 people

Light, sound, hundreds of performers and the best sailing crews on the planet all came together to inaugurate the Race Village. The gates opened to the public at 19:30 and the crowd poured in as the sun set over the purpose-built Race Village ringed around the inner harbour of Alicante.

Nao Vicotira (XVth century) in Race Village.
Nao Victoria (XVth century) at Alicante port. (pix: Neolectum)

The public was given time to walk around the Village, to test the attractions, and soak up the atmosphere. Among the highlight destinations was the interactive Volvo Ocean Race Experience, comprising of the Ride, the Dome, the Pool and the Grinding Challenge.
The Ride is a simulator that gives users the sensation of what it is like to be at sea on a Volvo Open 70 in extreme conditions. The Dome is a cinematic representation of life on board during the race, whilst the Pool allows participants to show their tactical skills on scale model Volvo Ocean Race boats during an ‘in-port’ race. The Grinding Challenge is a test of strength, showing just how physically demanding the boats can be.

Fireworks at Alicante
Fireworks at Alicante duting opning ceremony. (pix: Rick Tomlinson / VOR)

Then, the volume was turned up as crews for the eight competing teams were paraded into the harbour aboard their race yachts to the pulsing beat of their team theme songs before each squad was ushered on stage in turn, escorted to the platform by dozens of performers.
Commenting on the Race Village, Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, paid tribute to the efforts of the city. “We are very pleased that the start of the race will take place in such beautiful surroundings. Alicante set their goals high to stage a magnificent send-off for the race. Looking around tonight, I can only say that they’ve exceeded all expectations.”

Artistica boat performing
Light and music surrounded by a happy crowd. (pix: Rick Tomlinson / VOR)

The evening concluded with a bang; several bangs in fact. Over 1,000 kg of fireworks were detonated to put an emphatic stamp on the opening ceremony.

Telefonica Azul
The Volvo Ocean Race village will remain open to the public seven days a week through to the start of the first leg to Cape Town, on October 11th. Gates open daily at 10:00 each day and close at midnight. On concert nights the opening will be extended until 02:00.

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