On Sunday January 15, the five boats racing in The Ocean Race got underway on a perfect afternoon from Alicante, Spain. The race around the world, formerly known as the Whitbread and then the Volvo Around the World Race, is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary. This year’s race will make six stops between the start in Alicante and the finish in Genova, Italy. Along the way the boats will visit the Cape Verdes, South Africa, Brazil, the U.S., Denmark and The Netherlands and in each stop an Ocean Race village will be set up for race fans to meet the sailors, see the amazing IMOCA 60 boats and enjoy sponsor festivities. The stop in the U.S. will be in Newport, RI where the event, hosted by Sail Newport, will take over Fort Adams and the adjacent marina. The boats should be arriving around May 15 and will depart again for Denmark on May 21. IMOCA 60s are high-tech, high-performance, foiling racing machines that can reach 30 knots and at that speed they sail out of the water on their foils. It’s hard to imagine doing that in the Great Southern Ocean, but they do it. The American boat, 11th Hour Racing, is run by Ocean Race veteran Charlie Enright, from Bristol, RI. A fun element this year is the requirement to have co-ed crews so each of the boats has at least two women. With satellite communications, it is possible to follow the race daily and to keep abreast of the excitement and the competition. As an adjunct to the round the world race, six one-design Volvo 65s are taking part in three short legs of the race in Europe and are vying for the Volvo 65 Sprint Cup.
Learn about The Ocean Race and follow the tracker here.