The Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s toughest sailing event, an exceptional test of sporting and human endeavour featuring the elite of the sailing profession.
It is a marathon on the seas lasting over eight months, passing through four oceans and five continents, and it will push the athletes to the limits of endurance.
The race started in the Spanish port of Alicante on 5 November 2011 and is expected to finish in Galway on or about 3rd July 2012. On the way, the race will visit Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France).
The Race is contested by 11-strong crews of professional sailors, who will experience temperatures ranging from -15 to +40 degrees Celsius over the course of the race. They will trust their lives to the boat skipper and experience hunger and severe sleep deprivation on legs lasting as long as 22 days. No fresh produce is taken on board during the race, meaning the teams will survive on freeze-dried food.
they are announced:
Chinese entry Team Sanya will be looking to stamp their mark on the race, with Volvo Ocean Race veteran and two-time winner Mike Sanderson as skipper and a mixture of experienced sailors.
There were two Irish crew members on board at the start of the race in Alicante on 5 November, Justin Slattery (37) a member of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team and Damien Foxall (42) a key Groupama team member.
Dramatic news though soon after the race officially started as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are putting a major repair operation into effect after their racing yacht Azzam suffered a broken mast in rough weather, forcing her to suspend racing just over six hours into Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.
“We have no injuries and have retrieved or secured all equipment” was the first comment from skipper., Ian Walker.
A spare mast is being rushed to the Spanish port of Alicante where Azzam and the rest of the six-strong fleet had begun the first offshore leg of the 39,000-nautical mile race in front of cheering crowds of 60,000.
British skipper Ian Walker said the crew was unhurt and the team were now ‘motoring back’ to Alicante. The boat remains in the race, the toughest offshore event in sailing which will not finish until July 2012 in Galway,
Problems too for Team Sanya on Sunday as they suffered Hull damage.
“Be under no illusion, we will be back with vengeance” said skipper Mike Sanderson. Before they had reached Motril, Sanderson had commented: “It was still unclear exactly what had caused the damage, which occurred when the boat was 30 nautical miles southeast of Motril, on the southern coast of Spain. The wind was blowing 43 knots and the waves were around 10.5 metres, the team reported.
“Right now we have no idea how major the damage is,” “We are all safe though”.
Latest positions as at this time:-
SportsNewsIreland will bring you reports on progress throughout the race which is expected to finish in Galway on or about 03 July 2012.
Of course those of you with a fast broadband connection can follow your favourite crew (and up to the minute news of the event) via: -
Galway Bay on 3 July seems a long way away right now !