The French city of Lorient will return as the penultimate stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race for the 12th edition in 2014-15, completing a route that will test the world’s best professional sailors to the limit in a race around the world lasting almost nine months and 40,000 nautical miles.
The route will take in 10 cities in nine countries – Spain, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, United States, Portugal, France and Sweden – and will require the teams to cover 39,895 nautical miles – equivalent to 45,910 miles or 73,886 kilometers.
The Race will start on October 4, 2014, day of the first In-Port Race in Alicante, and finish with a final In-Port Race on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.
The start of the race will see the brand new Volvo Ocean 65 racing boats sail from Alicante in Spain to Recife on the north east tip of Brazil over 3,421 nm. From there, the teams will sail the longest leg of the race, making their first dive into the Southern Ocean on their way to Abu Dhabi (9,707 nm) before heading to Sanya in China (4,670 nm).
As in the last race, the boats will sail from Sanya to Auckland, New Zealand (5,264 nm). From the City of Sails they will leave for Itajaí in Brazil (6,776 nm) before going north to Newport, Rhode Island in the United States (5,010 nm). The teams will then cross the Atlantic to Lisbon (2,800 nm) and stop in Lorient (647 nm) before the final run to the finish around the British Isles to Gothenburg (1,600 nm).
“This route has never really been part of any ocean race any time before,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. “And when you have that element there’s a new strategy, there’s a new route, there’s new weather, there’s new challenges for the sailors. That is exciting, not only for us but for the sailors because no-one can claim they’ve done this before.”
Lorient, the Breton city on the west coast of France, hosted the Race for the first time in 2011-12 and provided an incredible spectacle for fans. French team Groupama sailed into Lorient as winners of the penultimate leg from Lisbon and had another emotional success in the In-Port Race. The team skippered by Franck Cammas went on to seal their debut victory in the Volvo Ocean Race at the finish line in Galway.
“Lorient is France’s sailing capital and the response we had during the last Race was phenomenal,” said Race CEO Frostad. “It will be a real pleasure to come back to this stunning part of the world, where the people are so knowledgeable about the sport and the whole set-up suits the Race so perfectly. Lorient will be a real highlight on the route.”
Frostad described the route as “an immense challenge” for sailors.
“The leg from Recife to Abu Dhabi will be one of the most interesting, diverse and difficult ever sailed in this Race,” Frostad said. “There then follows an incredibly challenging section of the race on the way around Cape Horn before a long overdue visit to Newport and a trip back across the Atlantic to a fantastic three-stop European finish.
“From brand new ports like Recife to now familiar stops such as Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Itajaí, Lisbon and Lorient, and classic sailing cities such as Auckland and Newport, this route gives just about the perfect mix of old and new. Add to that the start in Alicante and a mid-summer finish in Gothenburg, my only regret is that I’m not sailing the route myself.”
For more information visit www.volvooceanrace.com