Sailing has been on the sports pages lots over the past six months as the sailing world prepared for one of the biggest events of the year: The Volvo Ocean Race. You may have seen some the coverage and you may have wondered why all the hype about one sailing race. Some people would consider it to be THE sailing race, an event inspired by great sailors of the past who travelled around the globe firstly for commercial purposes, to gather goods to sell, and then later purely for adventure.
It has been called the “Everest of Sailing”, a dangerous, gruelling, nine month race around the world. Six boats, each with eleven crew members, started in Spain in October and have completed four of the nine legs. The race has so far taken them to Capetown, Abu Dhabi, Sanya and Auckland. They are currently on their way from Auckland to Itajai. From there they will race to Miami before crossing the Atlantic to head to Lisbon, Portugal and Lorient, France. The final leg will see the teams race to Galway, Ireland.
During the race the crew of eleven must give their all as the race tests their skills, endurance and spirit. They all have different roles on board and the roles reflect how intense the race is: two of the crew will have had medical training, one will be a sailmaker, one an engineer and one will be in charge of the media on board. This means that the boats can be self sufficient for the duration of the legs. There are support teams but the crews training ensures that they can continue to race even when something goes wrong.
No fresh food is taken on board and the crews live on freeze dried food for the duration of the race. Each crew member takes only one change of clothes. They travel through extremes of weather and must put their trust completely in their skipper and the team. For those of you who have taken boat showers (Sail Caribbean-style) imagine how grateful they are when they arrive in port and can have a shower and a steak dinner.
The sailors that are taking part are from all over the world: America, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Great Britain, Ireland, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Brazil, China and the United Arab Emirates. They may or may not become more well-known after the race and this may not matter to them. They are sailing around the world because they love sailing and they seek adventure, they seek an experience that pushes them to learn and changes them forever.
When you sign up for one of our teen adventure programs, you may not race around the world but you will certainly have the opportunity to test your new sailing skills in the occasional friendly competition. Join us this summer for Race Day and many more summer adventures!