The French city of Lorient will return as the penultimate stopover in the 2014-5 Volvo Ocean Race. This is the last port to be announced completing the route for the 12th fully crewed round the world race that will last nine months and see completion over 40,000 nautical
The Race will start on 4 October 2014, day of the first In-Port Race in Alicante, and finish with a final In-Port Race on 27 June, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.
The total course distance will be 39,895 nautical miles – the equivalent to 45,910 miles or 73,886 kilometres – and will see the sailors tackle an extra Southern Ocean leg between Recife in Brazil and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in their brand new Volvo Ocean 65 one designs.
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad said: “We have a route which we are sure will appeal to every serious offshore sailor, full of super-fast, challenging conditions. The Southern Ocean leg from Recife to Abu Dhabi is the most diverse ever presented in the Race and will contribute to what could turn out to be the toughest Race in our 40-year history.”
Lorient will be the penultimate Host Port along the route and will come immediately after Lisbon, as it did in the last edition, and before the grand finale, which this time will be in Gothenburg.
The full route will see the teams sail their newly constructed boats from the Race's home in Alicante, Spain to Recife on the north east tip of Brazil over 3,421 nm. From there, the teams will sail the longest leg of the race, making their first dive into the Southern Ocean on their way to Abu Dhabi (9,707 nautical miles) before heading to Sanya in China (4,670 nm).
As in the last race, the boats will sail from Sanya to Auckland, New Zealand (5,264 nm). From the City of Sails they will leave for Itajaí in Brazil (6,776 nm) before going north to Newport, Rhode Island in the United States (5,010 nm). The teams will then cross the Atlantic to Lisbon (2,800 nm) and stop in Lorient (647 nm) before the sprint to the finish around the British Isles to Gothenburg (1,600 nm).
Lorient, the Breton city on the west coast of France, hosted the Race for the first time in 2011-12 and provided an incredible spectacle for fans. French team Groupama sailed into Lorient as winners of the penultimate leg from Lisbon and had another emotional success in the In-Port Race.
"Lorient is France's sailing capital and the response we had during the last Race was phenomenal," said Race CEO Frostad. "It will be a real pleasure to come back to this stunning part of the world, where the people are so knowledgeable about the sport and the whole set-up suits the Race so perfectly. Lorient will be a real highlight on the route."
Frostad described the route as "an immense challenge" for sailors: "The leg from Recife to Abu Dhabi will be one of the most interesting, diverse and difficult ever sailed in this Race. There then follows an incredibly challenging section of the race on the way around Cape Horn before a long overdue visit to Newport and a trip back across the Atlantic to a fantastic three-stop European finish.
"From brand new ports like Recife to now familiar stops such as Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Itajaí, Lisbon and Lorient, and classic sailing cities such as Auckland and Newport, this route gives just about the perfect mix of old and new. Add to that the start in Alicante and a mid-summer finish in Gothenburg, my only regret is that I'm not sailing the route myself."
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-5 leg by leg preview by Knut Frostand and race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante:
In-Port Race: October 4, 2014
Leg Start: October 11, 2014
Leg Distance to Recife: 3,421 nm
Gonzalo Infante: “The fleet will start with some unpredictable coastal sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. There are always many chances to pick up good trade winds after Gibraltar and increase your gains. After that, it’s all about fast trade winds sailing towards the Equator. The teams will have to cross the doldrums in the west because of the location of Recife.”
Knut Frostad: “The Volvo Ocean Race route has always been kind of an evolution, with some new elements. We obviously start here in Alicante, which is now the home of the Race, where the Race has a very strong foundation, and we've had successful starts in the last two editions.”
In-Port Race: November 8, 2014
Leg Start: November 9, 2014
Leg Distance to Abu Dhabi: 9,707 nm
Gonzalo Infante: “It will potentially be a very fast run in the Southern Atlantic followed by a big dive south that can go as extreme as the Kerguelen Islands. Objective: maximize the time spent in the Roaring Forties. Afterwards the fleet will turn the corner and head north with the southeasterly trades before getting into the Arabian Sea and fighting against the monsoon.”
Knut Frostad: “From Alicante we head to Recife in the north east of Brazil – a spectacular city with a beautiful waterfront, great sailing and wind conditions, and we're going to be right in the middle of the city. The leg from Recife to Abu Dhabi will be one of the most interesting and diverse ever sailed in this Race. The teams will be crossing the Equator, going from trade winds in Recife down to the Southern Ocean and back up to Abu Dhabi.”
In-Port Race: January 2, 2015
Leg Start: January 3, 2015
Leg Distance to Sanya: 4,670 nm
“The first part of this leg is generally downwind and fast. It will get lighter as you get closer, turn the corner of Cape Comorin in southern India and start traveling towards the Malacca Strait. Malacca has all kinds of weather – generally light wind but with potential extreme features. Then the South China Sea offers a final up-beat one-week sail towards Sanya.”
Knut Frostad: “We had had one of the most spectacular stopovers in the history of this event in Abu Dhabi in the last edition and I'm expecting no less next time.”
In-Port Race: February 7, 2015
Leg Start: February 8, 2015
Leg Distance to Auckland: 5,264 nm
Gonzalo Infante: “The first goal on this leg is simple: get out of the China Sea in one piece. Second one: find your way into the North Pacific trade winds. And finally head towards the South Pacific.”
Knut Frostad: “Sanya in China was probably the best kept secret in the sailing world. It proved to be one of the best sailing venues we had. It has great conditions for sailing, a really beautiful location and lots of enthusiasm with the local population.”
In-Port Race: March 14, 2015
Leg Start: March 15, 2015
Leg Distance to Itajaí: 6,776 nm
Gonzalo Infante: “The Southern Pacific leg is all about the balance between speed and seamanship. The conditions in the Southern Ocean are extreme with potential winds over 60 knots. Once the teams have rounded the Cape Horn, big gains and looses are possible as they
head North towards Itajaí.”
Knut Frostad: “Auckland is the home of sailing in many ways and one of the really strong bricks and foundations of this race if you go back in history. Almost every single person in Auckland knows this race very well. We are not concerned about the enthusiasm and I think we'll have another great stopover in Auckland.”
In-Port Race: April 18, 2015
Leg Start: April 19, 2015
Leg Distance to Newport: 5,010 nm
Gonzalo Infante: “Both the south and the north parts of this leg will be a balance between offshore breeze and coastal currents. The start will be in thunderstorms, followed by a doldrums crossing and then an oceanic bit towards Newport. Teams will have to decide between the Atlantic or the Gulf Stream.”
Knut Frostad: “Itajaí was also a fabulous surprise in the last Race. We had more than half a million people coming to the Race Village. Kenny Read summed it up by saying he had never seen that many people welcoming him into any port in his history of sailing.”
In-Port Race: May 16, 2015
Leg Start: May 17, 2015
Leg Distance to Lisbon: 2,800 nm
Gonzalo Infante: “It could start with a really fast north Atlantic run, playing with the remainder of the Gulf Stream. A crucial moment will be the connection with the Portuguese trade winds before the arrival in Lisbon.”
Knut Frostad: “Newport is a new port in the Volvo Ocean Race, even though it is probably one of the capitals of sailing around the world. In this little city on the east coast of America we will really collar Newport and Newport will collar us when we are there in the spring of 2015.”
In-Port Race: June 6, 2015
Leg Start: June 7, 2015
Leg Distance to Lorient: 647 nm
Gonzalo Infante: “After eight months of pure offshore racing, the last two sprints will dictate the final scoring where performance and clever tactics will shape gains and looses. The first one, from Lisbon to Lorient, will start with a predominant ‘up the hill’ sail along the Portuguese coast, playing the wind’s coastal influences before sailing across the unpredictable Bay of Biscay.”
Knut Frostad: “If you could design the perfect Race Village in the perfect location it would probably look like Lisbon. The start and the in-port racing will be happening right in front of the Village and there is a lot of enthusiasm locally in Lisbon. We had a fantastic experience there in the last race and we look forward to the next time.”
In-Port Race: to be decided
Leg Start: to be decided
Leg Distance to Gothenburg: 1,600 nm
Gonzalo Infante: “The teams will face around 1,500 miles of a coastal marathon, with some high-intensity sailing on the waters of English Channel, Celtic Sea and North Sea. This will be a full-on leg, where the fleet could potentially find extreme weather with big navigational hazards: rocks, wind farms, fishing boats, oils rigs... Certainly one that could very quickly turn into a navigational nightmare.”
Knut Frostad: “Lorient is really the capital of sailing in France. It's the place where all the sailing teams are based in France, where they build boats and equipment and train, with fantastic conditions, a lot of interest and enthusiasm, and spectacular weather. I think we will have another exciting stopover in the true French spirit.”
In-Port Race: June 27, 2015
Total Race Distance: 39,895 nautical miles
Knut Frostad: “Gothenburg is the finish of the race and really the home of Volvo. It is a city with a long history with this event and a lot of ties to this event after a fantastic stopover in 2002, and another spectacular finish in 2006 and now the finish in 2015. Gothenburg, midsummer, Sweden – everyone knows the race, everyone has boats. It will be a fantastic finish.”