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Thread: 2017 - 2018 Volvo Ocean Race

  1. #11
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    Fastnet Added To Volvo Ocean Race




    ALICANTE, Spain – The Fastnet Race, one of the most revered and feared tests in sailing, and a new Lisbon-Alicante Prologue will both feature in an intense period of pre-race qualifying for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 – serving as a first clash of the fleet while providing an early form guide for the fans.

    In the sixth of a series of 10 major announcements in 10 days, Race Management outlined a number of mandatory qualifiers before the start in Alicante, Spain, in October 2017 – including provisionally a transatlantic test for all the fleet in June or July.

    In August, the fleet will assemble for Cowes Week in the Isle of Wight, UK for ‘Leg Zero’, which will include the 600-mile Fastnet Race.

    The Rolex Fastnet Race – always unpredictable – will take the teams from Cowes, through the English Channel, around Land’s End and out into the Celtic Sea. After rounding Fastnet Rock off the southwest coast of Ireland, they race on from Plymouth. The boats will then race from Plymouth to Lisbon, Portugal to complete Leg Zero.

    Teams will then tackle a brand new Prologue race from Lisbon to Alicante, where they will remain until the start of the 2017-18 edition.

    France’s Charles Caudrelier, who skippered Dongfeng Race Team in 2014-15, commented: “You train for months, alone, and so it’s good to be able to do more racing as a team before the start. It’s very different, racing under pressure, than training, and good for boat testing.”

    “I’ve done a few Fastnet Races, some were windy and some were light. It’s a nice course, very fun and interesting to sail around the coast, with the effect of the currents. It’s a good test and a very dynamic race, with interesting weather.”





    He continued: “In two or three days, you have a lot of decision-making to do, so it’s good to test not just everyone’s speed but also taking decisions quickly under pressure.

    “And of course, you get to see which teams are stronger.”

    Many Volvo Ocean Race teams have used the Fastnet Race as part of their preparations but it has never before been a mandatory qualifier.

    The maxi yacht Drum, preparing for the 1985-86 race, famously capsized during the Fastnet and pop star Simon Le Bon was among the crew who had to be rescued by the Royal Navy.

    Richard Mason, four-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran and now Operations Director for the Race, said: “It’s super important to be doing these miles, at the right time of year.

    “It’ll provide some awesome hours on the water for the teams, and that’s where they’ll learn the most – getting out there in the middle of the ocean, and getting amongst those weather systems, in a race that no sailor would dare take on lightly.”

    He continued: “The Fastnet Race is on the bucket list of every ocean racer in the world. It’s famous for being very tricky and coastal. You can have no wind, you can have enormous amounts of breeze, and vicious seas, out near Fastnet Rock, it’s navigationally and tactically challenging, you don’t get much sleep. It’s the perfect race – an amazing thing to be a part of.”

    The seven existing Volvo Ocean 65s are currently undergoing a stringent re-fit process at the race’s Boatyard facility in Lisbon, Portugal, and an eighth boat is currently being built.

    The Race will start in Alicante in October 2017 and finish eight months later in The Hague in summer 2018, visiting a total of 11 landmark cities.

    Last week, the Volvo Ocean Race made key announcements on crew rules regarding women sailors, a new crew communicator that will allow the athletes to send social media updates from the oceans, the building of an eighth Volvo Ocean 65 to join the existing fleet, the introduction of bespoke new premium team bases to enhance the pit lane experience in the Race Villages and the use of M32 catamarans to increase the amount of guest sailing at each stopover.

    The Race will make four further announcements this week.
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    Strategic Risk Gates To Be Employed





    ALICANTE, Spain – The Volvo Ocean Race is revolutionising the scoring system for 2017-18 to encourage strategic risk-taking from the teams and give extra reward for strong performances in the two Southern Ocean legs and the final ocean leg of the race, across the North Atlantic from Newport to Cardiff.

    The seventh in a series of 10 announcements from the Race in 10 days is designed to open up the competition in an era of incredibly close One Design racing and give an incentive for teams to gamble more often to split the fleet. The new rules state:

    - Scoring will change to a high-point system
    - The two Southern Ocean legs – from Cape Town to Hong Kong, and Auckland to Itajaí, plus the North Atlantic leg near the end of the race, Newport to Cardiff – will all score double points
    - The winner of each and every leg will score one bonus point (10 for a win, 8 for second, 7 for third, etc)
    - There will be a bonus point for the first team to round Cape Horn in a nod to the mythical significance of this turning point in the race
    - A further bonus point will be awarded for the team with the best total elapsed time overall in the race
    - The In-Port Series will remain the tiebreaker should teams, as in the last edition, be tied on points at the finish in The Hague.




    The new scoring system is the first confirmed change in a series of options being considered by Race HQ.

    “One of the most fantastic things about the move to One Design in 2014-15 was that we had extraordinarily close racing all the way around the world – but there was also a bit of a ‘sheep’ mentality, with no-one really wanting to break from the fleet for fear of being left behind, and instead just wanting to play the averages” explained Mark Turner, Race CEO.

    “We need to do something to encourage that strategic risk-taking. We’re amending the points system, but we’re also considering things like blackouts in terms of positions, so teams can go into ‘stealth’ mode, and in terms of weather data provided, so that navigators need to use more of their own judgement at certain times”

    Charles Caudrelier, who skippered Dongfeng Race Team in 2014-15, commented: “I think these bonus points could be interesting. It’s good to have a bonus point for rounding Cape Horn first, as sometimes you lead part of the leg and fall back because the end of the race is in a light spot, and you don’t deserve that.

    “Stealth mode could be interesting, and the weather blackout is something we’ve done in other races. Yes, maybe, it could be good if they choose an important moment to stop the forecast, but I don’t really think it will change a lot.”

    As in the 2014-15 edition, In-Port Races will be scored as a separate series and used to break any ties in the final table.

    The race begins in Alicante in October 2017 and will take the teams 45,000nm around the planet, including three times more Southern Ocean miles than in the last edition, on their way to the finish in The Hague eight months later.

    Last week, the Volvo Ocean Race made key announcements on crew rules regarding women sailors, a new communicator that will allow the athletes to send social media updates from the oceans, the building of an eighth Volvo Ocean 65 to join the existing fleet, the introduction of bespoke new premium team bases to enhance the pit lane experience in the Race Villages and the use of M32 catamarans to increase the amount of guest sailing at each stopover.
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    Major Upgrades In Onboard Reporting



    ALICANTE, Spain - The Volvo Ocean Race is reinventing its unique Onboard Reporter programme in order to tell more of the raw story than ever before – with the Race creating a squad of multimedia reporters able to work across the fleet instead of necessarily being permanently attached to individual teams.

    - Fourth iteration of Onboard Reporter (OBR) programme introduces most radical change yet;
    - Volvo Ocean Race will employ pool of OBRs able to work across the fleet, which as a consequence means this has been able to be started already (rather than waiting for teams to sort at much later date);
    - OBRs will still be matched to the needs of each team’s sponsors, in terms of language, culture and objectives;
    - Move is ninth in series of 10 announcements in 10 days.

    In the penultimate announcement in 10 days regarding the 2017-18 race, the team of 10-12 Onboard Reporters will be more fluid and flexible, potentially being able to embed within teams on a leg-by-leg basis instead of signing on with one team for the whole race as before – and avoiding also the very late appointments by many of the teams in the last edition, which compromised the technical abilities of the OBRs in some cases.

    “We’re putting the emphasis firmly on the Reporting side of the OBR’s role, and we are already up and running with the trialing and training as a result of being able to move forward now. The quality of OBR we believe we can acquire by doing this will also help in what of course is a difficult task of balancing integrity and acquiring sufficient trust of the sailors – like a war reporter jumping in the front line with the soldiers. We actually experienced, for unfortunate reasons in fact, having more than one style of OBR in the last race onboard Dongfeng and it worked very well,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner.

    “Having dedicated reporters onboard the boats, embedded in the action, was a groundbreaking step when it was first introduced back in the 2008-09 edition – and now it’s time for the next evolution. Their only job is to tell the team’s own story in as raw a way as possible, to share what remains just a small slice of the incredible journey of the team onboard. We probably still only share 5% today – if we could get to 15% that would be great, and we would not be digging too far into certain sensitive content that should still stay on the boat.

    “It’s another part of our commitment to share just a little bit more of the raw and direct story of the teams, and faster than ever before – whilst of course being sensitive to the personal stories onboard. Just like in any professional sport today, this balance is important.”

    According to Volvo Ocean Race’s Head of TV, Leon Sefton, this is a fundamental shift in the way that content is gathered onboard.

    “It’s true that the OBRs will not be able to create the sort of long term bond with their teams that they may have done in previous editions, and we could lose some of the storytelling opportunities that are provided by that kind of relationship,” he explained.

    “But we believe that the ability to rotate the OBRs this way will provide a crucial distance between the teams and the OBRs that will better enable them to properly perform the role of observational journalist.”

    He added: “We’ve already begun the process of trialing and training OBRs, and by the start of the Race, we’ll have a pool of top storytellers across the fleet.”

    “Of course, this news doesn’t mean that we will rotate all Onboard Reporters, every single leg – if there’s a particularly interesting story or relationship on a particular boat then of course it would make sense to let it play out for multiple legs – but this added flexibility gives us the opportunity to shake things up if we feel it’s necessary.”

    No OBR will be on the race unless their basic safety and ability to survive onboard the Volvo Ocean 65s has been well tested pre-race and signed off by at least two skippers. The ambition is in fact for the whole pool of OBRs to actually train on any of the boats to which they might be assigned during the race itself.

    Teams have been capturing footage since the first edition of the race in 1973-74 – but originally crew members would take turns to perform reporter duties, using 16mm film cameras and homemade water housings.

    Full-time Media Crew Members were added to each team in 2008-09 as dedicated story-gatherers, and the role was renamed as Onboard Reporter for the 2014-15 edition.

    The news of the changes follows a prominent campaign to recruit the next reporters to the storytelling squad, which closed in September.

    “We’ve raised the bar in terms of our search for the next generation of Onboard Reporters ahead of 2017-18,” added Turner.

    “We’ve received applications from 126 countries and the quality is incredible, with experienced media professionals including war reporters, adventure and nature documentary makers and digital broadcast journalists.”

    The Volvo Ocean 65 racing boats are effectively mobile digital production facilities, operating with state-of-the-art satellite hardware and services supplied by Cobham SATCOM and Inmarsat.

    As part of a refit process currently underway at the Race’s Boatyard facility in Lisbon, all Volvo Ocean 65s are gaining two new fixed camera angles, taking the total to six positions across the boat.

    Each Onboard Reporter has additional access to night vision and action cameras, while drone and 360-degree cameras will also be in regular use across the fleet.

    “We were the first to use drones from the oceans as part of our storytelling in 2014-15, and led the way with 360-degree footage offshore, as well as streaming live during the Cape Horn rounding,” said Sefton. “We’re going to continue innovating across the OBR programme.

    “Thanks to our partners we have the ability to go live from anywhere on the planet, at any time, and the OBRs work around the clock to capture and transmit the real story from the boats.

    “As soon as it’s sent, you’ll see it."

    Last week, the Volvo Ocean Race made key announcements on crew rules regarding women sailors, a new communicator that will allow the athletes to send social media updates from the oceans, the building of an eighth Volvo Ocean 65 to join the existing fleet, the introduction of bespoke new premium team bases to enhance the pit lane experience in the Race Villages and the use of M32 catamarans to increase the amount of guest sailing at each stopover.

    Monday’s news was about an intense period of pre-race qualification sailing that includes the Rolex Fastnet Race, and on Tuesday, Race Management announced changes to the scoring system to encourage strategic risk-taking. Yesterday, the Race revealed that all boats will be fitted with a hydropower generator to provide backup energy in 2017-18. There will be one further announcements tomorrow.
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    Dongfeng Makes 2



    China is back in the Volvo Ocean Race as Dongfeng announce return in 2017-18 with Charles Caudrelier as skipper

    Dongfeng announced the partnership alongside Charles Caudrelier, Team Director Bruno Dubois and Volvo Ocean Race Managing Director Antonio Bolaños, at a news conference in Wuhan

    WUHAN, China – China’s Dongfeng Race Team will build on the all-round success of their Volvo Ocean Race debut and return in 2017-18 for a second successive campaign under French skipper Charles Caudrelier, the team announced on Monday.

    The team will be 100% backed by Dongfeng Motor Corporation, the Chinese motor manufacturer headquartered in the Hubei province city of Wuhan, and the target will be to improve on an already strong performance in 2014-15, when they exceeded expectations by finishing third overall.

    Dongfeng announced the partnership alongside Charles Caudrelier, Team Director Bruno Dubois and Volvo Ocean Race Managing Director Antonio Bolaños, at a news conference in Wuhan.

    Yang Qing, the vice president of the Dongfeng Motor Corporation, said the company was proud to be back in the Volvo Ocean Race: “The Volvo Ocean Race is the premier offshore sailing race in the world and has attracted China’s attention. More and more media and public now know of the race through the challenge by Dongfeng Race Team, with the support of Dongfeng, in the 2014-15 edition. There is no doubt that Dongfeng Race Team made history and multiple Chinese sailors are part of that story.

    “Not only did Dongfeng Race Team succeed in marketing the Chinese motor brand to a growing global customer base, but the team also promoted Chinese culture through the Volvo Ocean Race. Dongfeng Motor Corporation is dedicated to support the Chinese team again with the leadership of skipper Charles Caudrelier and to once more challenge the offshore sailing fraternity and establish an effective communication channel about the sport of sailing between China and the world,” he concluded.

    Caudrelier’s team are the second confirmed entry in the race, which will start on October 22 next year and take the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world in one of the toughest routes in the race’s 43-year history. Team AkzoNobel, skippered by Simeon Tienpont, were the first team to announce.

    Dongfeng Race Team will once again represent China, racing under the Chinese flag and will continue to have the interests of Chinese sailing at heart.

    Charles Caudrelier and a team that featured four Chinese sailors over the course of the race, defied expectations to secure third place overall in 2014-15.

    Success on the water, plus an open and innovative approach to storytelling, provided a major boost to the Dongfeng brand, particularly outside China, while giving the team the highest measured media value from the race.

    This time the sponsorship has been elevated from Dongfeng Trucks (DFCV) to the Dongfeng Motor Corporation, a sign of the commercial success of the campaign last time. Dongfeng Motor Corporation is the Chinese motor industry leader. In the 2016 ‘FortuneChina’ top 500 leaderboard, Dongfeng Motor Corporation was ranked 81st with revenue of US $82.817 billion, and ranked 16th amongst Chinese businesses.

    Heading into 2017-18, the goal will be to win, said Caudrelier, who tasted victory himself with Groupama in 2011-12.

    The 42-year-old Frenchman is delighted to be representing China again: “For sure I am very happy because I have learnt about China and its people and I really enjoy working with them,” he said. “I am very happy to see Dongfeng coming back. It is great for us to see a sponsor returning who feels happy about sailing and is happy to get involved again.

    “With this announcement the team is in the ‘starting blocks’ early and that will give us an advantage to find the best crew and to train as much as possible. But this is not an easy task – the next edition of the race is the longest and hardest yet with three times as much Southern Ocean racing to do.

    “In the last race the Chinese sailors, who had almost no offshore sailing experience, joined the squad and performed beyond expectations alongside our professional international crew. Together we showed what we could do, how we could overcome adversity and be an even stronger, united team at the end.”

    This second Dongfeng Race Team project follows Team Sanya (2011-12) and Green Dragon (2008-09) as the Volvo Ocean Race’s fourth Chinese entry. Green Dragon was a joint-entry with Ireland.

    “It’s fantastic news to have Dongfeng come back as a sponsor for a second consecutive edition – and fantastic news for sailing in China, to be able to build on the legacy that the first Dongfeng Race Team project created,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner, who, before taking the reins of the event in June 2016, oversaw the Dongfeng Race Team project.

    “It’s really pleasing to see a Chinese sponsor which was new to sports sponsorship, coming back a second time based on the strength of the success of the first campaign, both on the media side and the Business to Business side. It’s a very big vote of confidence in the race, not just for other Chinese brands, but for many companies around the world who are looking for a platform to help them transform their business, internally or externally or both.

    He continued: “Charles Caudrelier over-delivered in the last edition with a crew that on paper were less experienced than some of the other teams. It’s great that he is coming back as skipper. I think he will use the experience of the last race to build a great team.”

    The seven One Design Volvo Ocean 65s from last edition are currently undergoing a stringent re-fit procedure at the Race’s Boatyard facility in Lisbon, Portugal – and an identical eighth boat is also currently built by Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy.

    It has previously been announced that the next race will feature two Southeast Asian stops, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. It will be the fourth consecutive edition that the Race has stopped in China.

    In total, the Race will visit 11 cities in five continents, starting in Alicante and taking in Lisbon, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg before the finish in The Hague.
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    Melbourne Makes Volvo Stop List

    Volvo Ocean Race announces Melbourne, Australia as extra stop and confirms all 2017-18 race dates

    The Volvo Ocean Race will give sports fans an extra Christmas present in 2017 after adding Melbourne to the route for the forthcoming edition starting in October





    MELBOURNE, Jan 27 – The Volvo Ocean Race will give sports fans an extra Christmas present in 2017 after adding Melbourne to the route for the forthcoming edition starting in October.

    The change to the 2017-18 route, announced on Friday morning in Melbourne, means the Race will visit Australia for the eighth time – but for the first in more than a decade.

    With what will be a compressed stopover, Melbourne fits between Cape Town and Hong Kong, and completes a 45,000-nautical mile route that will see the teams cover three times as many miles in the Southern Ocean as in previous editions.

    Cape Town to Melbourne will now make up Leg 3 of the race – a double-point scoring, 6,300-nautical mile leg. Melbourne will host a week-long stopover, but no In-Port Race, before the fleet leaves on Leg 4 to Hong Kong.

    According to projections, the one-design Volvo Ocean 65 fleet will arrive around Christmas Day – meaning an extra reason to celebrate in the state capital of Victoria.

    Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren commented: “The Volvo Ocean Race is another chance for Victorians to see some of the world’s best sailing teams in action. Major events are fantastic for the entire visitor economy – they keep our restaurants and hotels full and our shopping precincts bustling.



    He concluded: “The Victorian Government is proud to work with a range of dedicated partners to support this stand out sailing event.”

    Australia’s history with the Volvo Ocean Race goes all the way back to the first edition in 1973-74 and, in total, Australia has hosted the race seven times. The race first came to Melbourne in 2005-06 and now returns for a second time.

    “We’re delighted to be visiting Melbourne again – a vibrant city of sport and culture with a strong maritime heritage,” said Volvo Ocean Race COO, Richard Mason.

    “Having been born in Australia myself, I couldn’t be more excited to see the race head Down Under, and I know that sailing fans across the nation will be full of excitement to see the boats and sailors for themselves.”



    The full route now features a total of 10 legs taking in 12 landmark Host Cities on six continents.

    The teams will leave Alicante, Spain on 22 October and race on to Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne and Hong Kong before a non-scoring transition to Guangzhou in China.

    After a stopover in Guangzhou that will include a race in the In-Port Series, the ocean legs will resume with a leg to Auckland before stopping in Itajaí, Brazil, Newport, Rhode Island, Cardiff and Gothenburg, before the big finish in the Dutch city of The Hague.

    The two Southern Ocean legs – from Cape Town to Melbourne, and Auckland to Itajaí – plus the North Atlantic leg near the end of the race, Newport to Cardiff – will all score double points. The longest leg of the 45,000-nautical mile lap of the planet will now be the 7,600-nautical mile leg from Auckland to Itajaí.

    The Volvo Ocean Race recently announced a series of major changes to the rules of the 43-year-old classic adventure, including a major incentive for teams to compete with mixed male-female crews.

    The addition of the Melbourne stopover means the race has locked in dates across the whole 2017-18 route. The key dates are as follows:



    Alicante

    Race Village opens – 11 October 2017

    Alicante In-Port Race *– 14 October 2017

    Leg 1 Start – 22 October 2017

    - - - -

    Lisbon

    In-Port Race – 28 October 2017

    Leg 2 Start – 5 November 2017

    - - - -

    Cape Town

    In-Port Race – 8 December 2017

    Leg 3 Start – 10 December 2017

    - - - -

    Melbourne

    Leg 4 Start – 2 January 2018

    - - - -

    Hong Kong

    In-Port Race – 27 January 2018

    - - - -

    Guangzhou

    In-Port Race – 4 February 2018

    - - - -

    Leg 5 Start – 7 February 2018

    - - - -

    Auckland

    In-Port Race – 10 March 2018

    Leg 6 Start – 18 March 2018

    - - - -

    Itajaí

    In-Port Race – 20 April 2018

    Leg 7 Start – 22 April 2018

    - - - -

    Newport

    In-Port Race – 19 May 2018

    Leg 8 Start – 20 May 2018

    - - - -

    Cardiff

    In-Port Race – 8 June 2018

    Leg 9 Start – 10 June 2018

    - - - -

    Gothenburg

    In-Port Race – 17 June 2018

    Leg 10 Start – 21 June 2018

    - - - -

    The Hague

    In-Port Race – 30 June 2018
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    Dongfeng Team Gets Keys To Newly Refitted Volvo Ocean 65




    Dongfeng Race Team become first team to take delivery of their newly-refitted Volvo Ocean 65

    There are 268 days until the Volvo Ocean Race fleet departs Alicante ahead of a 45,000 nautical mile marathon through the most challenging oceans on the planet, and Dongfeng Race Team are set to make the most of that preparation time after becoming the first to take delivery of their newly-refitted Volvo Ocean 65 at The Boatyard in Lisbon today


    There are 268 days until the Volvo Ocean Race fleet departs Alicante ahead of a 45,000 nautical mile marathon through the most challenging oceans on the planet, and Dongfeng Race Team are set to make the most of that preparation time after becoming the first to take delivery of their newly-refitted Volvo Ocean 65 at The Boatyard in Lisbon today.

    The handover marks the formal beginning of the Chinese team’s second consecutive campaign, and holds extra special significance as it is exactly two years to the day since Charles Caudrelier and Dongfeng Race Team won their 2014-15 homecoming leg into Sanya.

    Having been through a re-fit process worth around one million euros, the boat now features an eye-catching new colour scheme and branding, alongside a range of upgraded kit consisting of over 500 items across sails, deck gear, electronics and a new media and navigation station.

    “For us, today is the largest milestone we’ve had so far in the re-fit period. It’s 15 weeks since Dongfeng gave the boat to us, and the deadline for returning it is today,” explains Neil Cox, Paint and Commissioning Manager at the Boatyard.




    “We’ve had two days of sea trials which have gone well, and that’s the culmination of an enormous amount of work by 25 to 35 people, who have worked the last three and a half months putting in close to 3,500 man hours into the boat, covering everything from boat building, rigging, to electronics, and sails, to get it stripped and put it back together.”

    He continues: “In addition to that, we’ve put an additional 2,500 man hours into painting and branding, which has pretty much seen every area of the boat – from the hull, deck, masts, keel, rudders and daggerboards – stripped, re-primed and brought back into new paint, so we’re giving back a product which looks like a brand new boat.”

    And Dongfeng technical specialists were full of praise for the Boatyard team, who have given the boat a complete overhaul whilst under huge time pressure.

    “We have our boat back and she is still the same one that we got to know last time,” said boat captain, Graham Tourell. “But really she is almost new with some innovative upgrades – everything has been either replaced or renewed and she looks stunning in her new livery.’

    Dongfeng skipper Charles has been working for months to build his crew for a campaign which he hopes will see the team better their third place of 2014-15, and the handover of the boat is a landmark occasion, he says.

    “Getting our hands on the boat today is another huge step for us. It marks the beginning of another adventure for our team and the moment that we start our training programme in earnest. In the next few weeks we will also be able to finalise our crew selection.”

    Who will sail onboard Dongfeng is not yet confirmed, but the Frenchman revealed that his squad will once again feature a mixed Chinese and western crew and will take advantage of new rules designed to encourage female sailors to take part.

    “We’re looking for people who are competitive, determined to succeed and committed to our cause,” said Caudrelier. “Competition for each slot on the boat is exceptionally tough but we are determined to take our time and make sure we have the right mix.”

    With the main phase of boat preparation now completed the focus switches to Dongfeng Race Team’s on-the-water training and racing programme in the lead-up to the Volvo Ocean Race start from Alicante in Spain on 22 October.

    The 2017-18 route will see the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet race more than three times as many Southern Ocean miles as in recent editions, visiting 12 landmark cities across approximately 45,000 nautical miles – including a first return to Melbourne, Australia in over a decade, as announced on Thursday – and Caudrelier can’t wait to test the boat against the toughest conditions on the planet.

    “As a team, we’re relishing the new emphasis in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race on racing in the Southern Ocean and leg three is going to be one of the biggest challenges we will face,” he added.
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    MAPFRE Returns For Another Round




    MAPFRE back for another Volvo Ocean Race challenge in 2017-18

    MAPFRE will return to the Volvo Ocean Race for a second consecutive edition, as the third confirmed entry for sailing's toughest team event

    ALICANTE, Spain – MAPFRE will be back on the start line for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18, the Spanish team announced on Tuesday.

    MAPFRE, backed by the Madrid-based global insurance company, are the third confirmed entry for sailing’s toughest team event, which starts from Alicante on Sunday, 22 October and will take the teams on a 45,000-nautical mile route around the world. Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel announced their campaigns last year.

    In the last edition in 2014-15, MAPFRE won the leg into Auckland, New Zealand and grabbed three more podium finishes. Their return is testament to the success of the project both on the sporting and commercial side.



    MAPFRE president Antonio Huertas said: “It’s an honour for MAPFRE to be on the start line again in one of the most demanding competitions in world sport. We really value being involved in a sailing competition around the world that represents the same values that define us as a company.

    “Our experience in the last edition, with a great team of professionals, committed and determined to do well in this race, was very positive. Additionally, the Volvo Ocean Race will have stopovers in some of our main markets, such as Spain, Brazil and the United States, and we will therefore increase brand awareness of MAPFRE at an international level.”

    Spain’s Pedro Campos will again oversee the MAPFRE project, with announcements on the skipper and crew to come in the near future.


    Spanish boats have competed in eight of the previous 12 editions of the Volvo Ocean Race – formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race – but the country is still looking for a first win.

    “It’s fantastic news to be able to confirm a Spanish team for the next edition, and of course great to see another sponsor return to the race after a successful campaign,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner. “With Alicante recently confirmed as the start for the next three editions, and Spain having played a significant role in the history of the race in general, it will be great to see Spanish fans lined up again on the dock in October to cheer on their team, MAPFRE.”

    Spanish sailor Campos has an unbroken history with the race dating back to the movistar campaign in 2005-06.

    Pedro Campos, CEO of Team MAPFRE and of the last five Spanish projects in the Volvo Ocean Race, said: “We are very grateful and proud to have the full support of MAPFRE once again for the great adventure that is the Volvo Ocean Race, probably the longest, hardest, and most extreme event in the sports world. Just taking part in it, it’s a big goal for every team. To be on start line from Alicante with a chance to try to win – that is our first big challenge and our job for the next months.”

    From the start in Alicante on 22 October, the teams will race their one-design Volvo Ocean 65s on a route that calls in at Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport (Rhode Island), Cardiff and Gothenburg before the finish in The Hague.

    A recent rule change provides a major incentive for teams to include female sailors as part of the crew, while a series of further initiatives were announced last year to make the racing more open than ever.
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    Reeling In The Years





    GOTHENBURG, Sweden – The Volvo Ocean Race will celebrate 45 years of history with a Legends Race on the final leg of the 2017-18 edition from Gothenburg to The Hague.

    Any yacht to have featured in the Whitbread Round the World Race or Volvo Ocean Race, dating back to 1973-74, will be welcome to join the 2018 Legends Race. The race will be run over the same course, and around the same time, as the closing leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, which starts from Gothenburg on 21 June.

    The announcement was made at the yacht racing seminar Meetingspot in Gothenburg and follows a hugely successful Legends Regatta that was held before the start of the 2011-12 race in Alicante and exhibitions at the both the Volvo Ocean Race Museum in Alicante and at the finish in Gothenburg in the last edition in 2014-15.



    Among those participating at the seminar was Tracy Edwards MBE, who skippered the all-female Maiden team to two leg victories in their class in the 1989-90 race and is planning to reunite her crew and the boat for the 2018 race.




    “Maiden was found in a sad state a few years ago in the Seychelles and since then I have been working very hard to get her back, restore her and get her back in her former glory again,” said Edwards.

    “She will shortly be shipped back to the UK for a renovation program and our aim is the gather the original all-female crew from 1989-90 and compete in the new Legends Race 2018.”

    The plan for the Legends Race is to include a Maxi class, a Volvo Ocean 60 class an Open class. Both Sweden and Holland have a proud history in the Volvo Ocean Race and a large number of fans who have followed the event through the years.




    “The Legends Race will add a lot of excitement to the Stopover in Gothenburg because there are many fans in Sweden who are devoted to the history of the Volvo Ocean Race,” said Camilla Nyman, CEO of Gothenburg & Co, organisers of the stopover in Gothenburg. “We’ll be welcoming famous yachts and crews to the heart of Gothenburg and fans will get to see a lot of legendary yachts and familiar faces.”

    Frank van der Peet, head of the team organising the finish of the race at The Hague, added: "Holland has a long and successful history with the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race so we are very enthusiastic about welcoming these magnificent and historic race boats to The Hague.”
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    The 3rd Volvo Campaign Confirmed



    Spain's Xabi Fernández to skipper MAPFRE in Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

    Spain's Olympic gold medallist Xabi Fernández will return to skipper MAPFRE in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18, the Spanish campaign announced on Friday, 17 February.


    Spain’s Olympic gold medallist Xabi Fernández will return to skipper MAPFRE in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18, the Spanish campaign announced on Friday, 17 February.

    The 40-year-old Xabi, who has taken part in the Volvo Ocean Race four times, won Olympic gold in Athens 2004, and followed that up with a silver in 2008 – both times alongside his long-term sailing partner Iker Martínez.

    The two men shared leadership duties during MAPFRE’s 2014-15 campaign but with Iker making the decision to focus on other professional projects, Xabi will take sole charge this time.

    “The Volvo Ocean Race is an enormously difficult challenge combining human adventure, world-class sport, technical expertise, logistics on a global scale, and a unique communications platform,” said Xabi.

    “Being fortunate enough to be back on the start line, with a chance to claim victory, is something that we are very proud of, and I’m thankful to MAPFRE for believing in a project that began back in 2014.”

    Xabi will return to the Volvo Ocean Race after finishing his work for Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup campaign, Land Rover BAR.

    Xabi previously competed onboard movistar in 2005-06, Teléfonica Blue in 2008-09, and Teléfonica in 2011-12, before joining MAPFRE for the last edition.




    “The short-term objectives are, firstly, to finish the work on the boat and take delivery from The Boatyard in Lisbon at the end of the month. Later, we will confirm the rest of the crew with training that begins in Sanxenxo in mid-March.”

    He added: “We have eight months of hard work and optimisation ahead – not only in terms of the boat, but the performance of the team – so that we can depart Alicante on 22 October with a real possibility of winning.”

    MAPFRE competed in the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time in 2014-15, continuing a long-standing tradition that has seen Spanish-flagged boats in eight of the previous 12 editions.

    Antonio Huertas, President of MAPFRE, said: “Xabi is a fantastic skipper, who is committed to MAPFRE and shares our values. This addition is magnificent news for the campaign. We know that he will proudly carry the MAPFRE name around the world.”

    Pedro Campos, general manager of the team, has been involved in every edition since 2005-06, and is delighted with the appointment. “There isn’t a sailor in the world that doesn’t respect Xabi’s talent, experience and determination,” he said.

    “Last edition, he clearly demonstrated his ability to organise and lead, gaining success such as the Leg 4 victory into Auckland, New Zealand. Without doubt, Xabi is the best possible skipper for MAPFRE.”

    The Volvo Ocean Race starts in Alicante on 22 October 2017 and will finish in The Hague at the end of June 2018. The Race will feature a total of 12 Host Cities and take the teams over 45,000 nautical miles around the world.

    Three teams have so far announced their campaigns – Team AkzoNobel (skippered by Simeon Tienpont), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier) and MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández).
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    With the deck of the new boat now firmly in place, The Boatyard's Nick Bice and Neil Cox visit the Persico Marine facility in Bergamo, Italy, to check out the progress on the eighth Volvo Ocean 65 in the fleet.

    No, it's not the Batmobile – it's the latest addition to the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet, and guess what? It's nearly ready.
    With just 248 days until the 2017-18 fleet leaves the Alicante dock for another epic circumnavigation of the planet, the newest member of the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet is coming along nicely.
    Currently under construction at Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy, the eighth boat will take around 36,000 man hours to complete, and will weigh around 12,500 kilograms when it leaves the factory.
    Nick Bice, Director of Boats and Maintenance, and Neil Cox, Paint and Commissioning Manager of The Boatyard, travelled from the race's state-of-the-art shared services facility in Lisbon, Portugal, to Italy, to check on the status of the new build.
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