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Azzam Leg 7
The Volvo Ocean Race Ends

Nine months ago, six of the most technologically sophisticated and advanced boats ever made, manned by the greatest sailors in the world, took off on the Volvo Ocean Race - the world's toughest yacht racing challenge.

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The Volvo 70 yacht - the vessel of choice for Volvo Ocean Race intrepid teams- is one of the most complex and demanding structures ever presented to any design team.

The Volvo Ocean Race Game

Get ready to hoist your sails, plot your course and beat the competition in the Volvo Ocean Race Game 2011-2012

The Volvo Ocean Race Tracker

Follow the progress and excitement of the Volvo Ocean Race with this live interactive tool

Meet AZZAM: IWC's Volvo Ocean Race Vessel to Glory

Meet Azzam, the IWC Volvo Ocean Race's team ticket to victory. Our boat, designed by USA's Farr Yacht Design and built by Persico S.p.A in Italy, is one of the most sophisticated boats ever constructed

MR PORTER

MR PORTER is the first global online retail destination for men‘s style, combining editorial content with the best international menswear designers

Meet IWC’s Volvo Ocean Race Team

Meet Ian Walker, Skipper: Ian Walker, a two time Olympic silver champion, is one of Britain’s foremost sailors and sailing managers, and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s skipper

The Man’s Guide to
Haute Horlogerie

The development and continuous improvement of movements, functional displays and cases has been part of IWC’s philosophy since 1868. Complications such as the perpetual calendar, constant-force tourbillon and minute repeater are not only historically significant achievements in the art of watchmaking but also the fruit of the company’s in-house design and development efforts. With the video series “The Man’s Guide to Haute Horlogerie”, which consists of 7 episodes dedicated to iconic complications, IWC gives you an insight into the world of Haute Horlogerie made in Schaffhausen.

Experiences

The Volvo Ocean Race

Text — IWC Photos — Volvo Ocean Race Date — 29 August, 2011

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The World’s Toughest Race

To sail around the world – the idea itself abounds with romance, peril and adventure. Circumnavigating the globe, mastering the untamed waters of a planet dominated by oceans, is a quest that has transfixed the human imagination since mankind discovered that the Earth is indeed round. Today, that spirit of adventure and exploration lives on in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Spanning every ocean, five continents and nine months, the Volvo Ocean Race is an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endurance. It is, quite simply, the “Mount Everest” of Sailing. Competitors risk their very lives on the world’s most turbulent seas. Success demands a combination of untiring focus, precision performance and extreme mental and physical fortitude.

IWC is proud to be a presenting sponsor and the Official Timekeeper of the Volvo Ocean Race. The qualities on display in the competition reflect the principles that guide our company. At IWC, we advance the limits of artistry and craftsmanship; in the Volvo Ocean Race, competitors push the limits of human achievement.

Today it is, quite simply, the "Everest" of sailing

TheMoney Can't Buy ExperiencesGiveaway

Enter for a chance to win an IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph, an all-access voyage and a VIP experience at a Volvo Ocean Race stage. The only people closer to the action will be the sailors competing in the race.

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The Race

The concise history and highlights of the Volvo Ocean Race

volvo ocean race
—The Volvo Ocean Race was first run in 2001 to 2002

Volvo Ocean Race History

The Volvo Ocean Race traces its origins to the achievements of the great seafarers of bygone eras – fearless men who sailed the world’s oceans aboard square-rigged clipper ships more than a century ago. Even without organized racing, trading and fishing vessels won pride and reputation by sailing from port to port faster than their rivals. The passion that drove sailors along the web of trade routes, deep into the bleak latitudes of the Southern Ocean and around the world’s most dangerous capes is alive and well in the Volvo Ocean Race, the pinnacle of achievement in yachting.

In the wake of the remarkable solo voyages of Sir Francis Chichester and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in the 1960s, an enthusiasm grew in international sailing circles for a race around the world involving fully crewed yachts. This enthusiasm soon bore fruit. In 1972, the British Royal Naval Sailing Association agreed to sponsor just such a contest.

The first edition of this sporting adventure was staged in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race, the longest, most demanding and perilous sporting event the world had known. Dangerous it was. That very first race claimed the lives of three competing sailors. While some called for the event to be abandoned, the race survived its detractors and came to be staged once every four years. It was run for the first time under its current banner, the Volvo Ocean Race, in 2001 and is now held once every three years.

—The Volvo Ocean Race trophy is comprised of 11 wave-shaped rings, each one representing an edition of the race

volvo ocean race
—During the race, the crews will experience life at the extreme
volvo ocean race

—During the race, no fresh food is taken on board and the crew is only allowed one change of clothes

Race Basics

During the nine months of the race, the teams will sail over 39,000 nautical miles over the world’s most treacherous seas. Setting out from Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and finishing in Galway, Ireland, during early July 2012, the race will travel to Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland and around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon and Lorient.

Each boat has a sailing team of 11 professional crew members. The race will require their utmost skills, physical endurance and competitive spirit as they race day and night, with some legs lasting over 20 days. Each sailor has a specific role and specialty. In addition, each boat will have at least two sailors with medical training, a sailmaker, an engineer and a dedicated media crew member.

During the race the crews will experience life at the extreme. No fresh food is taken on board; crews live entirely on freeze-dried fare. Temperatures on deck may fluctuate from -5 to +40 degrees Celsius. Each sailor is only allowed one change of clothing. Crews trust their lives to the strength of their boat and the skill of their skipper and will often experience hunger and sleep deprivation. The race is the ultimate mix of world-class sporting competition and on-the-edge adventure – a unique blend of onshore glamour and offshore drama and endurance.

—The route has 10 stopovers and covers nearly 40,000 nautical miles

The Route

The Volvo Ocean Race 2011/12 begins with the in-port racing on 29 October in Alicante, Spain. The race then sets sail on the first offshore leg to Cape Town, South Africa – a distance of 6,600 nautical miles. From the South African coastal port the fleet travels 5,430 nm to Abu Dhabi. Sanya, China, is the next stop, 4,600 nautical miles away, before continuing to Auckland, New Zealand, some 5,220 nautical miles beyond.

Leg 5 is the longest of the race at 6,705 nautical miles, from Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil. After leaving the sounds of the samba, the fleet covers 4,800 nautical miles to Miami, USA, before the Atlantic crossing of 3,590 nautical miles to Lisbon, Portugal. This is followed by a 1,940-nautical-mile sprint to Lorient, France, and finally a 485 nautical-mile dash to the finish in Galway, Ireland.

volvo ocean race

—Total nautical miles covered during the longest leg of the race

—Each of the entries has a sailing team of 11 professional crew members and the race requires their utmost skills

—Number of hours of the longest race leg from Auckland to Itajai

During the nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race, which starts in Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and concludes in Galway, Ireland, during early July 2012, the teams will sail over 39,000 nautical miles of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon and Lorient. Each of the entries has a sailing team of 11 professional members and the race requires their utmost skills, physical endurance and competitive spirit as they race day and night for more than 20 days at a time on some of the legs. They will each take on different jobs on board the boat and on top of these sailing roles, there will be two sailors that have had medical training, as well as a sailmaker, an engineer and a dedicated media crew member.

Stopovers

Where the race will be and when

Alicante

—Reputed to be a “miniature Barcelona", Alicante boasts a lively nightlife, authentic Spanish culture and perfect sailing conditions
 

Alicante, Spain: October 29 – November 5

The mediterranean port of Alicante not only hosts the start of the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, it is also the site of the Volvo Ocean Race official headquarters. Alicante, in the Valencian region of Spain, has a long and proud maritime history. Today there are over 20 marinas and yacht clubs home to 12,000 yachts. Alicante is a favoured destination for yachtsmen and pleasure seekers from the capital city of Madrid. It will offer warm Spanish hospitality in the build-up to the race start, before the fleet heads south into the Atlantic toward Cape Town.

In-port race Alicante: Saturday, 29 October 2011
Pro-am race Alicante: Sunday, 30 October 2011
Leg 1 – Alicante to Cape Town: Saturday, 5 November 2011

 

Cape Town, South Africa: 9 TO 11 DECEMBER

The South African port city of Cape Town marks the point where two of the world’s great oceans – the Indian and the Atlantic – meet. Due to this ideal location, Cape Town has for decades been a vital stop in around-the-world races. This will be the fourth time the Volvo Ocean Race fleet has called into the “Tavern of the Seas”. The Cape Town skyline boasts the looming presence of Table Mountain – a welcoming sight for both ancient mariners and modern-day sailors alike. It serves as a beacon of “Good Hope” and a welcoming respite from rigors of the southern ocean.

Pro-am race Cape Town:
Friday, 9 December 2011
In-port race Cape Town:
Saturday, 10 December 2011
Leg 2 – Cape Town to Abu Dhabi:
Sunday, 11 December 2011

—The iconic Table Mountain overlooks the picturesque seaport and beautiful beaches of Cape Town

Abu Dhabi

—Dubbed “The Richest City in the World” by Fortune magazine, Abu Dhabi’s modern skyline towers above the Persian Gulf
 

ABU DHABI, UAE: 12 TO 14 JANUARY

New to the race, Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It lies on a t-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast. The city has a multi-cultural population of almost 1 million people. The emirate features over 200 natural islands, more than 400 km of pristine coastline, tranquil oases, modern cityscapes, rocky mountain-like heights and awe-inspiring deserts. The Volvo Ocean Race stopover port will be within easy reach of world-class shopping centres and the traditional souks (markets) which offer a wealth of gastronomic delights.

Pro-am race Abu Dhabi: Thursday, 12 January 2012
In-port race Abu Dhabi: Friday, 13 January 2012
Leg 3 – Abu Dhabi to Sanya: Saturday, 14 January 2012

Sanya, China: 17 TO 19 FEBRUARY

Known as “China’s Hawaii”, Sanya is a tropical city with a year-round average temperature of 23º C. It sits on the southern tip of Hainan province and is a water-sports mecca for locals and tourists, with clear blue seas and miles of sandy beaches framed by a stunning backdrop of verdant mountains. For golfers, Sanya offers 11 top-notch courses, including the famous Yalong Bay National Resort. Sanya will provide a welcome break for the fleet at the end of their 4,600 nautical mile journey from Abu Dhabi.

Pro-am race Sanya: Friday, 17 February 2012
In-port race Sanya: Saturday, 18 February 2012
Leg 4 – Sanya to Auckland: Sunday, 19 February 2012

—Sanya is the southernmost city in China and a popular destination for tourists from all over mainland China
















Auckland, New Zealand: 16 TO 18 MARCH

“The City of Sails” and its inhabitants enjoy a long association with the Volvo Ocean Race, having hosted seven stopovers in the event’s history, including its predecessor, the Whitbread Race. In fact, New Zealand sailors have figured prominently on winning boats in years past. The city’s climate makes it perfect for sailing, while its many bars and restaurants will be brimming with race fans and supporters of the sizable Kiwi contingent entered in this year’s contest. The stopover will also coincide with the Round the Bays Fun Run, an 8.4 km race that attracts upwards of 70,000 runners. Its route follows the contours of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour and finishes on the waterfront at St Heliers Bay.

Pro-am race Auckland: Friday, 16 March 2012
In-port race Auckland: Saturday, 17 March 2012
Leg 5 – Auckland to Itajaí: Sunday, 18 March 2012

 

Itajai

—Itajaí is a melting pot of cultures, and annually hosts one of the largest Brazilian popular music festivals

Itajaí, BraziL: 20 TO 22 APRIL

Another new destination for 2011—12, Itajaí will offer a slower pace of life compared to the traditional Brazilian stopover in Rio de Janeiro. Like Rio, the beaches are stunning, particularly at Atalaia, Praia Brava and Cabeçudas. The Port of Itajaí is the main port of Santa Catarina and the second largest in Brazil. It serves as the main port for exports in the region. The city serves as the main trade gateway between the state of Santa Catarina and the rest of the world. The city has a strong European influence and historical ties with Germany and Italy. A samba-style welcome awaits!

Pro-am race Itajaí: Friday, 20 April 2012
In-port race Itajaí: Saturday, 21 April 2012
Leg 6 – Itajaí to Miami: Sunday, 22 April 2012

 

—Nicknamed “The Magic City”, Miami is an international destination overflowing with nightlife, commerce, and art

MIAMI, USA: 18 TO 20 MAY

Beaches, bronzed bodies and glamorous nightlife best signify one of the most iconic and culturally diverse cities in the world, the site of the US stopover. South Beach is great for shopping and partying with more than 150 clubs and bars. For a change of pace, there are more than 800 parks in and around the city, including the Biscayne and Everglades National Parks. The local sailing scene is thriving and the In-port races during the stopover are likely to draw huge crowds.

Pro-am race Miami:
Friday, 18 May 2012
In-port race Miami:
Saturday, 19 May 2012
Leg 7 – Miami to Lisbon:
Sunday, 20 May 2012

 

Lisbon

—Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, outdating London and Paris by hundreds of years

Lisbon, Portugal: 8 TO 10 JUNE

The destination for the fleet after their transatlantic crossing for the 2011—12 race is the bustling Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The city bursts with history spanning thousands of years. The riverfront on the Tagus River links the cultural and historic zone of Belém with the modern area of the Parque das Nações. Lisbon has a long tradition of maritime trade and sailing prowess, while Cascais, 30 km west of Lisbon, has hosted some of the world’s largest sailing regattas.

Pro-am race Lisbon: Friday, 8 June 2012
In-port race Lisbon Saturday, 9 June 2012
Leg 8 – Lisbon to Lorient:Sunday, 10 June 2012

 

—Lorient is the penultimate stop on the 2011—2012 route

Lorient, France: 29 JUNE TO 5 JULY

Located in picturesque Brittany in northwest France, Lorient is the penultimate stop on the 2011—12 route. In the 1600s, Lorient was part of the chain linking Europe to India, and later, the French East India Company, backed by King Louis XIV, created a thriving base there. Lorient offers an array of street-side bars, cafes and restaurants for those fond of the authentic French cuisine and great wine. The region is famed for fresh seafood, delicious crêpes and local cider. The crew aboard the French entry Groupama can expect a particularly warm welcome – Lorient is their home port and base.

Pro-am race Lorient
Friday, 29 June 2012
In-port race Lorient
Saturday, 30 June 2012
Leg 9 – Lorient to Galway
Sunday, 1 July 2012

 

Galway

—The epic race concludes in the port of Galway, where thousands will celebrate along with the VOR teams

GALWAY, IRELAND: 6 TO 7 JULY

If it’s a party you’re seeking, then Galway is the place to be in the first week of July when the race reaches its climax in this busy port on the west coast of Ireland. For the finish of the previous race, over 600,000 supporters visited the race village during the stopover, with the crowd peaking at 62,000 people on the In-port race day alone. The seaside resort of Salthill drew a further 120,000 visitors to watch the dramatic close-combat race from the shoreline. For 2011—12, the fleet will finish in the fabled waters of Galway Bay where copious pints of Guinness, the famous Irish stout, and plenty of local entertainment will be waiting.

Pro-am race Friday, 6 July 2012
In-port race Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Boats

The machines used to conquer the race

Boat Design Basics

The boat of choice for the 2011—12 Volvo Ocean Race is the Volvo Open 70. The regulations governing the design of the boat are known as the Volvo Open 70 Rule. The Volvo Open 70 was first used in the 2005-2006 Race and version two made its appearance in the 2008-2009 event. For version three the emphasis has been on refinement rather than radical changes. The boats are 70 feet in length and are constructed out of carbon fibre. They use canting keels which act as pendulums to balance the boat in heavy winds reaching up to 65 knots.

—The Volvo Open 70 is the official boat of the 2011—2012 race

The Volvo Open 70

The boat of choice for the 2011 — 12 Volvo ocean race
  • The HullThe boats are 70 feet in length and are constructed out of carbon fiber. They use canting keels which act as pendulums to balance the boat in heavy winds reaching up to 65 knots.

  • The KeelThe permitted overall weight range of the boat is from 14 -14.5 tons, while the maximum keel bulb weight is 7.4 tons. The draft is nearly 15 feet.

  • The SailsThe rules for 2011-12 have reduced the maximum number of sails. The new boats will be allowed to measure in 17 sails (down from 24) for the complete trip around the world, plus two spinnakers used only for In-Port racing. The overall sail area of a Volvo Open 70 is the equivalent of three tennis courts. The mainsail is the size of four boxing rings, the headsail is the size of 2.5 squash courts, and the spinnaker alone comprises two tennis courts.

  • The MastThe height of the mast is approximately 104 feet.

The Teams

Meet the seven teams competing for this years trophy

Abu Dhabi ocean Racing Team

Based in the United Arab Emirates, the Abu Dhabi team is IWC’s team partner in the Volvo Ocean Race. The strong and experienced crew includes a number of Volvo Ocean Race veterans, as well as a sailor native to the UAE. The boat’s skipper is Ian Walker, a double Olympic medalist who completed the race in 2008-2009. The crew has a decidedly international flare, with sailors hailing from seven different nations.

Groupama Sailing Team

The Groupama team is skippered by French sailing legend Franck Cammas, the author of a multitude of sailing victories and speed records. The team is based in Volvo Ocean Race stopover Lorient and will feel right at home in the race’s penultimate leg. Groupama is the first French team to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race since Eric Tabarly skippered the boat La Poste in 1993.

 

Puma Ocean Racing

A free-spirited crew led by American skipper Ken Read, the Puma team turned in a strong performance in the 2008-2009 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. This is Read’s second Volvo Ocean Race as skipper, and he hopes to add a win to his already formidable resume. To give the team an edge in conditioning, Puma has enlisted surfing legend Laird Hamilton to whip the crew into top physical shape.

 

Leading Team Telefónica is Iker Martínez, an Olympic Gold-Medalist

Team Telefonica

Led by Olympic gold-medalist Iker Martinez, the Telefónica team is looking to improve on its strong third-place finish in the 2008-2009 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Particularly proficient in the In-port races, Telefónica triumphed in the Alicante, Rio de Janeiro, Boston and Stockholm in-shore challenges in 2008-2009. Martinez has been a fixture on the team since its founding in 2000 – this will be his third appearance in the Volvo Ocean Race and his first as skipper.

 

Team Sanya

Team Sanya is China’s second entry into the Volvo Ocean Race, its first being a joint venture with Ireland in 2008-2009. Hopes and expectations are high for this year’s race, as team Sanya has tapped a two-time Volvo Ocean Race winner, skipper Mike Sanderson to lead the effort. Spirits are sure to be high on board this boat when the Volvo Ocean Race ports in Sanya, the team’s home base.

 

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand

With a crew made up mostly of Kiwis, the Camper team is replete with seasoned competitors and must be considered among the pre-race favourites. In a recent training run, the team set a new monohull record in the Auckland – Musket Cove race (from New Zealand to Fiji), nearly defeating the winning multihull entry.



Meet the IWC’s Volvo Ocean Race Team >>

Explore More Articles
Azzam Leg 7
The Volvo Ocean Race Ends

Nine months ago, six of the most technologically sophisticated and advanced boats ever made, manned by the greatest sailors in the world, took off on the Volvo Ocean Race - the world's toughest yacht racing challenge.

Azzam: Designed to Encounter Extremes

The Volvo 70 yacht - the vessel of choice for Volvo Ocean Race intrepid teams- is one of the most complex and demanding structures ever presented to any design team.

The Volvo Ocean Race Game

Get ready to hoist your sails, plot your course and beat the competition in the Volvo Ocean Race Game 2011-2012

The Volvo Ocean Race Tracker

Follow the progress and excitement of the Volvo Ocean Race with this live interactive tool

Meet AZZAM: IWC's Volvo Ocean Race Vessel to Glory

Meet Azzam, the IWC Volvo Ocean Race's team ticket to victory. Our boat, designed by USA's Farr Yacht Design and built by Persico S.p.A in Italy, is one of the most sophisticated boats ever constructed

MR PORTER

MR PORTER is the first global online retail destination for men‘s style, combining editorial content with the best international menswear designers

Meet IWC’s Volvo Ocean Race Team

Meet Ian Walker, Skipper: Ian Walker, a two time Olympic silver champion, is one of Britain’s foremost sailors and sailing managers, and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s skipper

The Man’s Guide to
Haute Horlogerie

The development and continuous improvement of movements, functional displays and cases has been part of IWC’s philosophy since 1868. Complications such as the perpetual calendar, constant-force tourbillon and minute repeater are not only historically significant achievements in the art of watchmaking but also the fruit of the company’s in-house design and development efforts. With the video series “The Man’s Guide to Haute Horlogerie”, which consists of 7 episodes dedicated to iconic complications, IWC gives you an insight into the world of Haute Horlogerie made in Schaffhausen.