The Volvo Ocean Race unveiled a series of radical initiatives that will create the toughest all-round test in professional sailing and strengthen the appeal of the 44-year-old round-the-world race to pro sailors, team owners and their sponsors, race partners, host cities and fans.
While the final preparations are being made for the 2017-18 edition, starting 22 October, race organisers used a live event at the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, the home of the race’s owners and title sponsors, to present a bold vision for the next decade and beyond.
Highlights include the choice of a new 60-foot (18.29 metre) foil-assisted One Design ocean racing monohull, designed by France’s Guillaume Verdier, plus the introduction of a challenging 32-50 foot (10-15m) One Design ‘flying’ catamaran for In-Port Races, for which a new design and build tender process was launched today.
The offshore legs will remain the key to winning the Volvo Ocean Race, but the inshore racing will count more than the current situation, where it acts only as a tiebreaker. That means winning the race in future will demand expertise in both monohull racing offshore and multihull racing in the In-Port Series, as both platforms will be raced by essentially the same crew.
“Three hulls, but not what you might have imagined,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner, revealing the choice of the next generation One Design boats, and referencing the difficult decision of whether to opt for a monohull or multihull design for the ocean legs, a subject that has been passionately debated by Volvo Ocean Race fans.
The race also announced new initiatives including:
“We had a lot of debate about multihull versus monohull and, in fact, the final solution for us is to do both, so there will be three hulls in future editions – a foil-assisted monohull and a ‘flying’ catamaran,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner.
“The Volvo Ocean Race has always been the ultimate test of a team in professional sport and with these changes – collectively the most radical since the race began in 1973 – we are taking it up another level. The obsession that has led to generations of sailors putting everything on the line to win this race will continue, but to lift the trophy will require more skill, dedication and sacrifice than ever.
“We are staying true to our DNA as an ocean race but we will now also be testing the world’s best sailors to their limits inshore as well.
“At the same time, the commercial offering has so many extra elements added to it making it a powerful business transformation platform. We remain one of the few global, professional, world-class sporting events with a great commercial package that goes with it, with an outstanding Business to Business product, along with a rich heritage and strong consumer, media and employee activation options, much of it built into the campaigns.
“We are fortunate as well to have such strong and consistent backing from our owners Volvo, two decades on from their acquisition of the event. The race has never been in such a strong position as we look to the next decade and beyond.”
Volvo announced the agreement to buy the race from former ears ago and has provided vision and staunch backing ever since. “Volvo said at the time that the race successfully brings together adventure, sport and high level technology,” said Volvo Group’s Henry Sténson, Executive Vice President for Communication & Sustainability Affairs.
“So while much has changed in the last 20 years, fundamentally, nothing has changed. We’re particularly excited to see the Volvo Ocean Race reinforce that commitment to innovation – an area that is so important to us at Volvo Group.”
In addition, Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President for Strategy, Brand & Retail at Volvo Cars, highlighted the race’s renewed commitment to sustainability. “Volvo Car Group has been involved in sustainability projects for a long time and we’re excited to see the race strengthen its position as a sporting event that is so in tune with its ocean environment and one that inspires such passion.”
The Next Decade
Key announcements from the Gothenburg event:
The next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante on 22 October 2017 and will visit a total of 12 Host Cities on six continents. The teams will compete over 46,000 nautical miles (83,000 kms) to the finish line in The Hague at the end of June 2018. • 18/5/17
Inmarsat will be the Volvo Ocean Race's official Global Satellite Communications Partner for the 2014-15 edition, providing cutting-edge satellite services to underpin the work of the Onboard Reporters on racing boats purpose-built with digital communications in mind.
Inmarsat will provide the network and services that will power multimedia reporting from the one-design Volvo Ocean 65s throughout the nine-month, elite offshore race that will start in Alicante, Spain on 4 October 2014 and take the teams around the world on a 40,000-mile race track.
Additionally, the maritime safety systems supplied by Inmarsat will ensure the Race’s control room can track the boats throughout the world’s oceans, from where they will offer live audio and video communications plus social media interaction.
It is the fourth consecutive time that the British-based company, the global leader in the sector, has carried out the role for the Volvo Ocean Race, which since 1973 has set the standard for modern ocean racing.
Each Volvo Ocean 65 will have a trained Onboard Reporter responsible for delivering broadcast and digital content daily for a global audience of tens of millions. Volvo Ocean Race is currently considering more than 2,000 applications for these roles.
Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, said: “Inmarsat performed flawlessly over the last three editions and we are sure they will do so again with a boat which has been purpose-built with communications very much in mind.
“We look forward to Inmarsat making this the most watched and most connected yacht race in the world aimed at a new online audience of people who simply love the kind of life-at-the-extreme excitement we serve up day in day out.”
The new one-design Volvo Ocean 65s will contest both the 12th edition in 2014-15 starting in Alicante in October next year and the 13th in 2017-2018. Inmarsat will supply the network and satellite services for the FleetBroadband 500 (FB500), FleetBroadband 250 (FB 250) on board every boat for 2014-15.
FB500, Inmarsat’s flagship maritime service, delivers an always-on connection of up to 432kbps for applications such as email, internet access, real-time electronic charts and weather reporting. FB500 also features streaming IP with guaranteed connection rates of up to 256kbps available on demand, for live applications such as high quality video streaming.
“The Volvo Ocean Race is the toughest and most technically advanced round-the-world yacht race. This is why race organisers needed to ensure that the event was supported by the most advanced and reliable satellite communications available,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO of UK-based Inmarsat.
“The Volvo Ocean Race is not just one of the world’s most exciting adventures but the perfect test bed to showcase the capabilities of Inmarsat’s global network to power voice and data connectivity from the most remote and inhospitable locations on Earth.”
In addition to Inmarsat C safety services and tracking devices, each of the race yachts will carry an IsatPhone Pro satellite phone in their life raft packs.
Commenting on the safety services being provided by Inmarsat, Pearce added: “We are trusted by the world’s mariners to deliver the life-saving Global Maritime Distress and Safety Service (GMDSS) and have done so for over 30 years. We will be helping to keep the Volvo Ocean Race teams safe as they compete over eight months and travel the equivalent of twice around the world.”
On shore, Volvo Ocean Race’s support teams will be equipped with Inmarsat’s BGAN land terminals, enabling them to set-up a full broadband communications suite at every port the race visits. Using BGAN, the support teams will be able to stay connected to the race crews wherever they are on an ocean. • 8/13
Britain’s Dee Caffari will lead 'Turn the Tide on Plastic' – a mixed, youth focused team with a strong sustainability message in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18. Her campaign, already backed by the Mirpuri Foundation and Ocean Family Foundation, is dedicated to the issue of ocean health.
The sixth confirmed team out of a possible eight for the upcoming edition will amplify United Nations Environment’s 'Clean Seas: Turn the Tide on Plastic' campaign throughout the eight months of the race, which covers 45,000 nautical miles of racing around the world, taking in 12 Host Cities on six continents.
Caffari’s ambition is to build a multi-national, 50-50 male/female squad, with the majority under 30 years of age. As part of the sustainability focus, the messages around diversity in age and gender will be strong themes of a campaign that in sporting terms may not start as a favourite, but could easily surprise on the water.
“I’m absolutely delighted to get the opportunity to sail for a cause I am so passionate about,” said Caffari, whose UK-based company will also run the project.
“The Volvo Ocean Race is the ultimate test of a team in sport, and with the ambition to race with a youth-orientated international mixed crew, we are looking to make an impact on and off the water.”
Caffari’s team is already part-funded by the Mirpuri Foundation and Ocean Family Foundation (OFF), who join an increasing number of partners backing Volvo Ocean Race’s campaign on ocean health and sustainability.
The Mirpuri Foundation is a non-profit organisation set up by Portuguese businessman and philanthropist Paulo Mirpuri with the aim of making the world a better place for future generations.
In addition to raising awareness around the growing issue of ocean pollution, the partnership is part of the Mirpuri Foundation’s long-term ambition to build a new chapter in Portugal’s rich maritime history by creating a strong offshore legacy for future generations of Portuguese sailors.
Caffari will include two Portuguese sailors in the team with a view to building a full Portuguese team in future editions of the iconic race.
“We feel immense pride to be backing this incredible ocean health campaign which we are sure will provide a great contribution to the health of our wonderful blue planet,” said Mirpuri. “We must act immediately if the next generation is to inherit seas and oceans which resemble those that we knew as children.”
He continued: “In Portugal, we have long held a rich maritime heritage, and this youth-orientated campaign is a major step towards shaping the world-class future of Portuguese offshore racing. The Mirpuri Foundation looks forward to working closely with the Volvo Ocean Race to achieve that objective over the coming years.”
Alongside the Mirpuri Foundation, the aim of the Ocean Family Foundation is to promote awareness of the effects of pollution, the importance of bio diversity and the necessity for conservation of the world’s oceans.
“The Ocean Family Foundation is delighted to be supporting this exceptional campaign to support ocean conservation and clean-up,” said Peter Dubens, on behalf of the Ocean Family Foundation.
“Plastic pollution has emerged as one of the greatest challenges facing our globe, with plastic debris forecast to double over this decade, causing huge damage to our oceans as well as to humans. “With her public profile as a British world record-holding athlete, Dee Caffari is the perfect leader to raise awareness of the need for urgent action.”
Caffari is an experienced round-the-world sailor who will return for a second consecutive edition, having competed on Team SCA in 2014-15. She is also notable for setting a landmark record in 2006, becoming the first woman to sail single-handed and non-stop the ‘wrong way’ around the world.
Then in 2009, she completed the Vendée Globe race and set a new record to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, around the world in both directions. “It’s an honour to represent this landmark campaign, and to lead the team on such a prestigious platform is exciting,” said Caffari.
“Seeing the amount of plastic in the ocean is heartbreaking. We’re abusing our planet – and this campaign is about pushing people to proactively do something about it. “We will be sailing with a youth-orientated team because the reality is, it’s going to be the next generations who inherit the mess that we’re making now. This is a major issue and we need to encourage this generation, and future generations, to step up.
” The Turn the Tide on Plastic boat will amplify the Volvo Ocean Race’s larger sustainability focus for 2017-18, and joins team AkzoNobel (Simeon Tienpont, Netherlands), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier, France), MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández, Spain), Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright, USA) and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (David Witt, Australia) in the fleet for the 2017-18 edition. • 6/17
The Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante 22 October and will stop at Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg before a big finish in The Hague at the end of June 2018.
The Mirpuri Foundation is a non-profit organisation set up by Portuguese businessman Paulo Mirpuri with the aim of making the world a better place for future generations. Mirpuri himself is no stranger to life offshore, or the Volvo Ocean Race. To raise awareness of the Foundation’s ‘Save The Ocean’ marine conservation campaign, he recently skippered the former Green Dragon Volvo Open 70 yacht – renamed Mirpuri Foundation – on a 2,300-mile passage from Cape Verde to Bermuda. The six-day voyage was completed by an experienced 10-strong crew, sourced from seven European countries. Aside from marine conservation, the Mirpuri Foundation focuses its resources across many areas including aeronautical and medical education and research, wildlife conservation, social responsibility and performing arts. Mirpuri is a highly successful investor, philanthropist and a passionate sailor who is also a qualified medical doctor and Airbus-qualified airline pilot. For further information about the Mirpuri Foundation please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ocean Family Foundation’s aim is to promote awareness of the effects of pollution, the importance of bio diversity and the necessity for conservation of the world’s oceans. Ocean Family Foundation is a group of likeminded families that have come together to support ocean conservation and clean up. For further information about Ocean Family Foundation please email email@example.com or telephone +44 (0) 207 766 6900
The fleet of Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts will be coated with the company’s International and Awlgrip range of products
The competing boats – including team AkzoNobel’s brand new Volvo Ocean 65 – have already been coated with Awlgrip products, while the keel on each boat is protected with International coatings.
“As the world’s leading supplier of marine and yacht coatings, we’re delighted to be partnering with the Volvo Ocean Race as an official Boatyard supplier,” said Alberto Slikta, Managing Director AkzoNobel’s Specialty Coatings business.
“The race is the ultimate test of performance and, given our long association with the sea, it’s the perfect showcase for the company’s market-leading products.” The boats that competed in the 2014-15 edition have been through a million-euros-per-boat refit process at The Boatyard shared service centre in Lisbon. Team AkzoNobel’s newly built Volvo Ocean 65 has also received its final fitout at the Lisbon facility.
AkzoNobel has developed unique and eye-catching custom colours for every team in the race, and the partnership ensures that the boats will continue to look the part even as they race through the toughest oceans on the planet, thanks to expert aftercare service from AkzoNobel’s International yacht business.
The company will supply all coatings required for repairs and maintenance in each stopover, and will also provide technical expertise when required to supervise the application process in Host Cities around the world. “We’re excited to be part of such a thrilling and captivating sporting event,” continued Collins. “It’s the kind of extreme test of high performance that our products are made for.” • 5/17
The Volvo Ocean 65 fleet will leave Alicante in October 2017 and race around the world, taking in Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg, before the big finish in The Hague at the end of June 2018.