After months of racing, it all comes down to this. The 2017/2018 Volvo Ocean Race will be decided by a sprint to the finish line over the next couple of days as the fleet departs from Gothenburg, Sweden for The Hague in the Netherlands, wrapping up a round-the-world event that has delivered drama, excitement, inspiration, and tragedy.
The 11th and final leg of the race takes the teams across just 700 nautical miles (805 miles/1296 km), making it the shortest route of the entire event. The ships are expected to cover that distance in just two or three days, with the winners reaching the finish by this Sunday. En route, the ships will sail past the Danish city of Aarhus, giving fans there the opportunity to see the teams in action.
With the end in sight, there are still three teams in the hunt to win the overall race. Their finishing order on the final leg will determine the winner and podium. After racing 44,000 nautical miles (50,634 miles/81,488 km) circumnavigating the globe, Team MAPFRE and Team Brunel are tied atop the leaderboard with 65 points. Dongfeng Race Team is in third, just one point back. Their performance over the next few days will determine which team heads home with the victory in hand. But the three teams in particular have a lot to be proud of, as over the course of the 45 years of the race there has never been an event this close heading into the final stage.
Upon reaching The Hague, the VOR will essentially be over, but there will still be a few in-port races to conduct. The fleet is expected to arrive there on Sunday, June 24 but there will be other events right up until June 30. No doubt, sailing fans will be turning out in large numbers.
You can follow all of the action on the Volvo Ocean Race’s excellent website.