Volvo Ocean Race

From Academic Kids

Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) is a yacht race around the world. Held every four years, the race takes the competing yachts through some of the worst sailing conditions in existence. Though the route is changed to accommodate various ports of call, the race typically departs England in September. The general route leads down into the southern ocean, round the tip of Africa, and then around the southern ocean—where waves sometimes top 100 feet and winds can reach 60 knots. Competitors eventually round Cape Horn and turn back into the Atlantic for the trip back to England. The route generally covers in excess of 28,000 miles over open ocean—not for the faint of heart.

In 1972 England's Whitbread company and the British Royal Naval Sailing Association agreed to sponsor a globe-circling regatta, which would be called the "Whitbread Round the World Race". The race has been greatly modified in the ensuing thirty odd years, but remains true to its original goal: A test of will, courage and skill against the best (or more accurately, worst) nature has to offer. Along with the Vendee Globe, the Whitbread (now Volvo Ocean Race) is the ultimate sailing adventure.


Whitbread 1973–1974

The first race started off from Portsmouth, England on September 8, 1973. Seventeen yachts of various sizes and shapes took part. During the race three sailors were swept over board, never to be seen again.

Leg Start Finish Leg Winner
1 Portsmouth, England Cape Town, South Africa Great Britain II
2 Cape Town, South Africa Sydney, Australia Pen Duick VI
3Sydney, AustraliaRio de Janeiro, BrazilGreat Britain II
4Rio de JaneiroPortsmouth, EnglandGreat Britain II

Sayula II skippered by Ramon Carlin won the overall race in a time of 133 days 13 hours.

Whitbread 1977–1978

On August 27, 1977, 15 boats started out from Southampton under gale force winds and driving rain.

Leg Start Finish Leg Winner
1 Southampton, England Cape Town, South Africa Flyer
2 Cape Town, South Africa Auckland, New Zealand Heath's Condor
3Auckland, New ZealandRio de Janeiro, BrazilGreat Britain II
4Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSouthampton, EnglandGreat Britain II

Flyer a Sparkman & Stephens designed yacht skippered by Cornelius van Rietschoten won the race. All 15 boats finished the 26,780 nautical mile race.

Whitbread 1981–1982

On August 8, 1981, 29 boats started out from Southampton.

Leg Start Finish Leg Winner
1 Southampton, England Cape Town, South Africa Flyer
2 Cape Town, South Africa Auckland, New Zealand Flyer
3Auckland, New ZealandMar del Plata, ArgentinaFlyer
4Mar del Plata, Argentina Portsmouth, EnglandFlyer

Flyer, a German Frers designed maxi skippered by Cornelius van Rietschoten (a.k.a Conny van Rietschoten), winner of the 1977–78 race, won the race. Unusually, Flyer won both on line honours AND on handicap. Only 20 finished the race out of the 29 that started it.

Whitbread 1985–1986

On September 28, 1985, 15 boats started out from Southampton.

Leg Start Finish Leg Winner
1 Southampton, England Cape Town, South Africa L'Esprit d'Equipe
2 Cape Town, South Africa Auckland, New Zealand Atlantic Privateer
3Auckland, New ZealandPunte del Este, ArgentinaUBS Switzerland
4Punta del Este, Argentina Portsmouth, EnglandL'Espirit d'Equipe

L'Esprit d'Equipe skippered by Lionel Péan won the race in a corrected time of 111 days 23 hours. Phillips Innovator was second, and Fazer Finland third. (UBS Switzerland was named first on elapsed time, with Lion New Zealand as runner-up. Drum (carrying owner/pop star Simon Le Bon) finished just a breath behind.)

Whitbread 1989–1990

1989–90 Overall Final Standings

Pos Boat Nat Skipper LOA/DesAggregate
1 Steinlager 2 New Zealand Peter Blake (NZ)84' Ketch128d 9h
2 Fisher & Paykel NZ New Zealand Grant Dalton (NZ)82' Ketch129d 21h
3 Merit Switzerland Pierre Fehlmann (F)80' Sloop130d 10h
4 Rothmans UK Lawrie Smith (GB)80' Sloop131d 4h
5 The Card Sweden Roger Nillson/Ann Lippens (S)80' Ketch135d 7h
18 Maiden UK Tracy Edwards (GB)58' Sloop167d 3h
21 La Poste France Daniel Mallé (F)51' Sloop181d 22h

The race was run with several classes (for size of boat). This race featured the first all-woman crew on Tracy Edwards' Maiden. Although in a much smaller boat than many of their male counterparts the ladies fared well—claiming two leg victories in class. The tradition of the Whitbread including an all-female crew remains to this day.

1989–90 Leg Winners

Leg Start Finish Leg WinnerSkipper
1 Southampton, England Punta del Este, Argentina Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
2 Punta del Este, Argentina Fremantle, Australia Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
3Fremantle, AustraliaAuckland, New Zealand Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
4Auckland, New ZealandPunta del Este, ArgentinaSteinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
5Punta del Este, Argentina Fort Lauderdale, FloridaSteinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
6Fort Lauderdale, Florida Southampton, England Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)

Steinlager 2 skippered by Peter Blake won the race easily. For the first time since 1981–82 (when the race comprised just four legs), the victor won every leg (albeit closely chased by both Grant Dalton's Fisher & Payskel NZ and Pierre Fehlmann's Merit entries). The vast difference in speed and capability of the many different boats involved in the 89–90 race lead to the creation of a committee to examine the commission of a Whitbread class boat for use in future races. Many of the Maxi yachts in this years race were nearly twice the size (LOA) of the smallest, and carried well over twice the sail area. The net result of this was that many of the smaller boats finished the longer legs more than ten days after the leg winner. In the overall results, the last finisher was some 52 days behind Blake's Steinlager 2 128 day aggregate time. In addition, the expense of the big yachts was getting to be too much—even for the well funded teams like Steinlager, Rothmans and Merit. Eventually, the new class would be called the W60—but it's gestation would not be quick or lack controversy.

Whitbread 1993–1994

The 1993–94 Whitbread was run to "mixed class" rules (as with prior races). New for the 93/4 race was a purpose built Whitbread boat—the W60. As with previous years a handicap was applied to different boats based on their race rating. The competitors were none too keen or running both Maxis and W60's together. The two competing classes battled throughout with protest flags always at the ready. Many entrants wanted the old maxis banned for this year, however owing to concerns over whether enough new boats would be ready (not to mention the large investments the Maxi owners had made in previous years), several Maxis were allowed to compete in the 93–94 race.

1993–94 Final Standings

Pos Boat Nat Skipper ClassAggregate
1 NZ Endeavour New Zealand Grant Dalton (NZ)Maxi120d 5h
2 Yamaha Japan/NZL Ross Field (NZ)W60120d 14h
3 Merit Cup GBR Pierre Fehlmann (F)Maxi121d 2h
4 Intrum Justitia Europe Roger Nillson (S) / Lawrie Smith (GB)W60121d 5h
5 Galicia 93 Pescanova Spain Javier de la Gandara (Esp)W60122d 6h
6 Winston USA Dennis Conner (USA) /Brad Butterworth (NZ)W60122d 9h
7 La Poste France Eric Tabarly (F)Maxi123d 22h
8 Tokio Japan Chris Dickson (NZ)W60128d 16h
9 Brooksfield Italy Guido Maisto (I)W60130d 4h
10 Hetman Sahaidachny Ukr Eugene Platon (Ukr)W60135d 23h
11 Reebok/Dolphin Youth GBR Mathew Humphries (GB)W60137d 21h
12 Heineken USA Dawn Riley (USA)W60138d 16h
13 Odessa Ukr Anatoly Verba (Ukr)W60158d 4h
NF Fortuna Esp Lawrie Smith (GB)MaxiWD

Intrum Justitia was originally skippered by Roger Nillson, who was injured on the first leg.

  • Corrected time takes the boat's handicap into account

Leg Results:

Leg Start Finish Leg WinnerSkipper
1 Southampton, England Punta del Este, Argentina NZ Endeavour Grant Dalton (NZ)
2 Punta del Este, Argentina Fremantle, Australia Intrum Justitia Lawrie Smith (GB)
3 Fremantle, Australia Auckland, New ZealandNZ Endeavour Grant Dalton (NZ)
4Auckland, New ZealandPunta del Este, ArgentinaNZ Endeavour Grant Dalton (NZ)
5 Punta del Este, Argentina Fort Lauderdale, Florida Yamaha Ross Field (NZ)
6Fort Lauderdale, FloridaSouthampton, EnglandTokio Chris Dickson (NZ)

Whitbread 1997–1998

Race run for the first time with all W60 boats and to a "points vs time" (instead of aggregate leg time) scoring system to enhance the value of the shorter race legs. Also, in an effort to attract additional media coverage, the Whitbread race committee divided the race into no less than 9 legs for the 97–98 race. Volvo had it's first major association with the race in 1997–98 by sponsoring the trophy (thus the race was officially known as the Whitbread 'round the world race for the Volvo Trophy) and some of the media coverage. For the first time running to W60-only specification, this year's Whitbread attracted just 10 entries—the fewest to date.

Overall Results:

Pos Boat Nat Skipper Points
1 EF Language Sweden Paul Cayard (USA)836
2 Merit Cup Monaco Grant Dalton (NZ)698
3 Swedish Match Sweden Gunnar Krantz (S)689
4 Innovation Kvaerner Norway Knut Frostad (N)633
5 Silk Cut England Lawrie Smith (GBR)630
6 Chessie Racing USA George Collins / John Kostecki (USA)613
7 Toshiba USA Dennis Conner (USA) / Paul Standbridge (NZ)*528
8 Brunel Sunergy Netherlands Hans Bouscholte / Roy Heiner (NL)415
9 EF Education Sweden Christine Guillou (F)275
dnf America's Challenge USA Ross Field (NZ)58
  • Toshiba was originally skippered by Chris Dickson. Dickson was fired after Leg 1. Hans Bouscholte was also replaced by Roy Heiner after leg 1. America's Challenge syndicate withdrew prior to the start of leg two for financial reasons.

Leg Winners:

Leg Start Finish Leg WinnerSkipper
1 Southampton, England Cape Town, South Africa EF Language Paul Cayard (USA)
2 Cape Town, South Africa Fremantle, Australia Swedish Match Gunnar Krantz
3Fremantle, Australia Sydney, AustraliaEF Language Paul Cayard (USA)
4 Sydney, Australia Auckland, New Zealand Merit Cup Grant Dalton (NZ)
5Auckland, New ZealandSan Sebastiao, ChileEF Language Paul Cayard (USA)
6San Sebastiao, ChileFort Lauderdale, FloridaSilk Cut Lawrie Smith (GB)
7Fort Lauderdale, FloridaBaltimore, MarylandBrunel Sunergy Roy Heiner (NL)
8 Annapolis, Maryland La Rochelle, France Toshiba Paul Standbridge (NZ)
9La Rochelle, FranceSouthampton, EnglandMerit CupGrant Dalton (NZ)

Volvo Ocean Race 2001–2002

For the 2001–2002 race the sponsorship of the race being taken over by Volvo and Volvo Cars. The race was renamed the Volvo Ocean Race. Stopovers were added in Germany, France, and Sweden being the Volvo's three biggest car markets in Europe. In addition the points system had been modified significantly in an effort to keep the race competitive until the final leg. The previous "points" race having been effectively won two full legs before the final gun.

2001–02 Overall Final Standings
Pos Boat Nat Skipper Points
1 Illbruck Challenge Germany John Kostecki (USA)61
2 ASSA ABLOY Sweden Neal Mcdonald (GB)55
3 Amer Sports One USA Grant Dalton (NZ)44
4 Team Tyco Bermuda Kevin Shoebridge (NZ)42
5 News Corp Australia Jez Fanstone (Aus)41
6 Djuice Dragons Norway Knut Frostad (N)33
7 Team SEB Sweden Gunnar Krantz (S)32
8 Amer Sports Too USA Lisa McDonald (US)16

LegStartFinishLeg Winner
1Southampton, EnglandCape Town, South AfricaIllbruck
2Cape Town, South AfricaSydney, AustraliaIllbruck
3Sydney, AustraliaHobart, AustraliaAssa Abloy
4Hobart, AustraliaAuckland, New ZealandAssa Abloy
5Auckland, New ZealandRio de Janeiro, BrazilIllbruck
6Rio de Janeiro, BrazilMiami, USAAssa Abloy
7Miami, USABaltimore, USATeam News Corp
8Baltimore, USALa Rochelle, FranceIllbruck
9La Rochelle, FranceGothenburg, SwedenAssa Abloy
10Goteborg, SwedenKiel, GermanyDjuice Dragons

John Kostecki, who had co-skippered with George Collins on Chessie Racing in the 1997–98 Whitbread to great effect, captained his first Volvo Ocean race winner in 2002. Assa Abloy's new composite mold technique proved very quick, but not quite quick enough, while long time Whitbread skipper Grant Dalton's two boat syndicate suffered badly from a lack of preparation time (the Amer boats were last in the water).

For Leg 3, yachts joined the iconic Australian Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race that begins on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas Day).

Volvo Ocean Race 2005–2006

The next Volvo Ocean Race will start in Europe in the autumn of 2005. Currently six boats are entered (Dec/04) in the new format (Volvo 70 boats instead of the W60's of the last three races). In-port racing will be included with points counting towards 20% of the overall result, great for the public, sponsors and media alike.

A new design of the boat has been introduced for the 2005–06 event. The Volvo Open 70 will be quicker and more dynamic than any boat previously sailed in the race.

For the first time, the Ocean race will not start in England as the Galicia region in Spain has been selected as the starting point.

It takes eight months, covers 31, 000 nautical miles of the globe’s most treacherous seas over nine legs, visits 10 ports around the world and incorporates seven inshore races. The race will also feature some "pit stops" designed to break up the longer legs into more manageable sections (and, of course, provide more media exposure).

The legs will be Sanxenxo / Vigo, Cape Town, Melbourne, Wellington, Rio De Janeiro, Baltimore/Annapolis, New York (Pitstop), Portsmouth, Rotterdam, Gothenburg.

As one of the teams, Ericsson will provide a race boat too. Watch their Racing Team website:

See also

External Links

sv:Volvo Ocean Race


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