“Hark, now hear the sailors cry, smell the sea, and feel the sky let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…” said the singer Van Morrison and could not describe better what will be the most important regatta in the world, the Volvo Ocean Race. More than 45,000 nautical miles throughout the world will be the scenario for a speeding race with the best navigators in the world.
The world competition will be played between 7 participating teams of various nationalities and men and women who will conquer the oceans. Several of them have Olympic medals and a long career in the seas, although for others it will be the first time they will experience a 7 month sailing around the world facing calm seas, icebergs, tropical storms and a hostile climate, in which the navigation strategy will mark the decisive victory of each stage.
The Volvo Ocean Race is a world regatta that started in 1973 from Portsmouth, in the United Kingdom and had only 4 stages. By today it is been extended to 11 stages and departs from Alicante, in Spain.
Route of Volvo Ocean Race 2017-2018
In each edition, the race slightly changes its route to cover new cities of each of the continents.
The first stage
It will begin on October 22 from Alicante, a coastal city in Spain located in the Mediterranean Sea towards Lisbon, in the Atlantic Ocean. It will cover 700 miles.
The previous calm of the warm European sea will be interrupted by a foreseeable odyssey around Cabo de Gata, a complicated orography, as it is navigated very close to an outgoing coast with capes, bays, strong winds and extreme climatic conditions. Sailors would feel periods of absolute calm – impossible for navigation – near Lisbon, as forecasted the prologue of the race.
The in-port race will be held on November 3 in Lisbon and it would be a unique opportunity for tourists and fans who want to see the speed and intensity of the race between the teams near the coast, encourage them and feel the power of navigation in front of his eyes.
The second stage
It will start on November 5 in Lisbon and border the entire western coast of Africa to reach Cape Town in South Africa. In this stage of 7000 nautical miles there will be several meteorological changes and different challenges, starting with an autumnal climate in Lisbon and following an extreme climate of high temperatures and instability in the Azores archipelago, where the winds will determine if they stimulate a fast navigation or make it slow down. The in-port race will take place in Cape Town on December 8.
The third stage
It will depart from Cape Town on December 10 towards Australia, throughout the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. It is a very difficult stage of wear and tear, in which several teams in the past have not been able to finish it, due to the area of continuous storms.
The arrival in Melbourne will depend very much on the weather. The strategy of how participants will use the climate conditions to decide their route will be key to determining if they arrive on time to the Australian coast. In this case, an in-port regatta will not be held to give sailors time to rest.
The fourth stage
It will start on January 2, 2018 and will be a surprise, as there are plenty of alternatives to go to Hong Kong across different seas, such as the Coral Sea and the South China Sea. Sailors will cross 6000 miles with several climatic zones, dominated by tropical monsoons, periods of calm and influenced by the great proximity to the coast along the islands. The in-port race will take place on January 27 or 28 in Hong Kong.
The fifth stage
It features the Guangzhou in-port race on February 3 and water activities there, and will be non-scoring for the sailors, who will have to return to Hong Kong for their sixth stage.
The sixth stage
It will start on February 7 and will return to Australia, this time to the southernmost part docking in Auckland, after a journey of 6100 miles. It is an extreme stage, in which the resistance of the ships will be tested through storms and adverse weather conditions around the Solomon Islands. The in-port race will take place on 10 March in Auckland.
The seventh stage
It will cover the 7600 mile distance between Auckland and Itajaí in Brazil. This stage is the most coveted by sailors, as they will have a bonus the first to cross the Cape Horn. Unlike other stages, in this the navigators will go in search of the cold, leaving an Australia in autumn to cross the South Ocean with icebergs and icy temperatures. On April 20, the bravest sailors will battle the in-port battle in Itajaí.
The eighth stage
It will run between Brazil and the United States, departing on April 22 from Itajaí and arriving in New Port after 5600 miles of sailing. In it, the most important feats will be lived again with the fast winds Alisios, doldrums near the equator, which are always unpredictable, and the anticyclone of Saint Helena, in which they could delay their departure. The in-port battle will take place on May 19 in New Port.
The ninth stage
It will return to Europe crossing the European continent in an incipient summer, after 5600 miles of distance. They will arrive in Cardiff, UK, where the in-port race will take place on 8 June. This is a classic route in the world of Western navigation, illustrated with large ice floes and fog, as happened with the famous Titanic, and the fearsome of the hot spring coming from the Gulf of Mexico.
The tenth stage
It will border the British Isles and Ireland for 1600 miles in direction to Gothenburg, Sweden. Two predictable scenarios can occur, one with storms of the Azores anticyclone, and another more calm, with a warm climate of the summer. The in-port battle will take place in Gothenburg on 17 June.
The eleventh and final stage of the Volvo Ocean Race
It will culminate in the Dutch city of The Hague, after 700 miles in which sailors will make the final sprint to become champions of the largest sailing competition in the world. The in-port battle will be in The Hague on June 30, accompanied by the celebrations of the victory.
The in-port races are a great way to live on the beachfront the action and strategy of the sailors, the excitement of the sport and to know a new city. Thousands of people will flock to the beaches these days, so we recommend the free Wave Application app, where you can meet your group of friends or family even in the crowd, sharing your live location privately on a map and for a limited time. It’s available for iOS and Android.