In a couple of weeks, the biggest and toughest sailing race in the world will get underway in Alicante, Spain. That’s where the Volvo Ocean Race is scheduled to begin on October 22, with seven teams setting out on a 40,000 nautical mile, 11-leg journey that will visit six continents and cross three oceans in the process.
Currently, the teams are preparing for the grueling event, which will take upwards of eight months to complete. But before they can set sail on their globe-spanning adventure, they first need to get their ships to the starting line in Spain. That process is known as the Prologue, and while it is a non-scoring leg of the race, it is an important one none the less.
Yesterday, the Prologue was set to get underway near Lisbon, Portugal, but unfortunately there was practically no winds to assist them out of the shipyards there. So, instead the start of the leg was moved to Gibraltar, where the ships made their way under power before raising their sails.
Once at the new position, they discovered a light wind that could help them truly begin the Prologue, with all seven ships now en route to Alicante. This gives them a few days to shake down the boat and work out the last of the kinks before truly embarking on the voyage. This leg will cover 680 nautical miles, with higher winds expected across the Mediterranean.
Upon arriving in Alicante, the teams will have a few days to wrap up their final preparation before the In-Port race begins on Saturday, October 14. After that, the countdown will begin for the actual start of the race eight days later.
When it comes to grueling events designed to test the endurance of the athletes taking part, the Volvo Ocean Race ranks near the tip. This year’s course will be particularly challenging, as the teams will spend more time in the treacherous Southern Ocean. That won’t be easy, particularly as the days and weeks grind on.
As always, it should be interesting to follow the race as it unfolds. Find out more at volvooceanrace.com.