Cape Town is the first port of call for the Volvo Ocean Race after departing from Alicante in Spain on the 29 October. This is considered to be the toughest team sport in the world contested by crews of 11 professional sailors in temperatures ranging from -15 to +40ºC. In addition, since no fresh produce is taken on board during the race and they eat only freeze-dried food, the teams suffer from hunger and sleep deprivation on sea crossings lasting as long as 22 days.
One thing is for sure – this race is not for cissies!
You may remember the beginnings of this challenge as the Whitbread Race, first run in 1973. Re-branded by its new owners as the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001, this will be the 11th edition of this iconic sailing regatta and the most technical. Teams compete in state-of-the-art Volvo Open 70s – the fastest racing yacht in the world. Perhaps they will exceed the 2008-09 monohull speed record when the Volvo Open 70 Ericsson 4 covered 596 nautical miles in 24 hours!
There are in in-port races too and you can see the magnificent yachts competing on Friday 9 and 10 December. Pick a spot on the shoreline on the outer edges of the V&A Waterfront. Cheer them on their next leg to Abu Dhabi (UAE) on Sunday 11 December. From there they go to Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France), finishing in Galway (Ireland) in July 2012. Then join us at Bascule afterwards for a drink or two after a hard day of cheering the yachts along!
Follow their progress through live streaming on their home page www.volvooceanrace.com or on Facebook, and, Youtube. Catch them on Twitter @volvo_oceanrace and their blog. The other really cool thing is the virtual Volvo Ocean Race Game; bigger, faster and more addictive than ever with more than 220 000 players loving the game last time around.
We wish all the sailors fair wind and God’s speed!