The big headlines in this week’s sailing news comes from the fully crewed, around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race, which recently announced the racetrack for the 2014/2015 edition of the race. The race will start on October 4, 2014, in the Spanish city of Alicante, and will take the crews and their newly minted Volvo Ocean 65 One Designs through some of the roughest waters on the planet before ultimately being decided in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Unlike the last edition of the race, the newly announced 39,895 nautical mile course does not appear to contain any piracy zones, although the fleet will sail a lengthy leg from Recife, Brazil, to Abu Dhabi, UAE, along the east coast of Africa.
'We have a route which we are sure will appeal to every serious offshore sailor, full of super-fast, challenging conditions,' said Knut Frostad, CEO of the VOR. '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.'
Also inside, be sure to get the latest scoop from SCA, the all-women’s team that’s competing in the next edition of the VOR. The team recently announced that Sam Davies, Annie Lush, Sophie Ciszek, Liz Wardley and Carolijn Brouwer have already made the cut, with the rest of the team to be sorted in the months to come. According to the latest reports, the team will be based in Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, in order to get in as much serious offshore sailing as possible.
'We have been really impressed by the quality of the candidates coming through,' said Richard Brisius, the team’s managing director. 'There is a 10-year gap since the last time there was an all-female crew in this race, and the level of professionalism and competence is much higher now, so clearly none of us is underestimating the task ahead.' Get the full multimedia report, inside this issue.
And for Cup fans, there are plenty of international efforts going into this year’s Summer of Racing. According to reports, Luna Rossa Challenge has packed up their toys at their Auckland base after a successful summer of training on the Hauraki Gulf and has shipped their boat, their wings and their sailors to San Francisco, where they are expected to be foiling in May.
Emirates Team New Zealand is also headed for San Francisco, although the Kiwis are a few weeks astern of their Italian-flagged friends. According to reports, some 31 containers will leave ETNZ’s Auckland base this week alone. Inside, get the full story on ETNZ’s antipodean departure, and check out the image gallery that details the huge amount of team effort required to move a professional sailing team from one side of the planet to the other.
And stateside, Oracle Team USA is taking advantage of the fact that their training waters are also the racecourse waters, enabling them to log a few extra weeks of foil time while their competition contemplates exactly how far Auckland is from SFO. Given the massive time penalty that Oracle triggered when they flipped their first-generation AC72 on October 16, 2012, this extra time cushion likely falls into the 'mandatory', rather than the 'luxury' category, although judging by recent multimedia report from Oracle (inside) it looks as though the American-fagged team is rapidly finding their pace with their highly modified first-generation AC72.
President of the French Republic received all of the Vendee Globe skippers - Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / Vendée Globe © Click Here to view large photo
Also in offshore circles, word has emerged that the President of the French Republic recently presented Francois Gabart, the walk-away winner of the 2012/2013 edition of the Vendee Globe, with the Chevalier De la Legion d’Honneur insignia at a ceremony held for all the starting skippers from the most recent Vendee. 'The ceremony was a great way to enhance the sporting and human values of exceptional men and women,' said Bruno Retailleau, President of the SAEM Vendée. 'The audacity and the dream they gave take every single French people in their wake.' Get the full report, inside.
And finally, be sure to also check out news from the ongoing Les Voiles de St. Barth (April 8 to April 13) and the upcoming Antigua Sailing Week (April 27-May 3), and don’t miss the latest reports from Act 2 of the 2013 Extreme Sailing Series (April 11 to 14).
May the four winds blow you safely home,
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor - 2:16 PM Tue 9 Apr 2013 GMT
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