Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou join Jérémie Beyou and the rest of the Dongfeng Race Team for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

16 March 2017

Dongfeng Race Team have selected Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou for their Volvo Ocean Race campaign in 2017-18.

According to race organisers, the move confirms the impact of a rule change introduced to encourage mixed male-female crews.

The two women bring a wealth of experience to Charles Caudrelier’s team, including a total of five Olympic Games and a host of world titles.

They join Jérémie Beyou, who came third in the 2016-17 Vendée Globe, Stu Bannatyne and Daryl Wislang, who were announced last week as the first of the campaign’s crew for 2017-18.

Publicity still of Dutch female sailor Carolijn Brouwer, who is competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

Carolijn Brouwer. Credit: Eloi Stichelbaut/Dongfeng Race Team.

Brouwer, 43, is one of the Netherlands’ most respected athletes and a two-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran, having competed with Amer Sports Too in 2001-02 and Team SCA in 2014-15.

She is also a former World Sailor of the Year and a three-time Olympian.

She is joined by France’s Riou, 35, who has competed twice at the Olympics, including Rio 2016, and has won four world championships in the Nacra 17 class.

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The pair have been selected following an extensive programme of evaluation which included sailing and racing, both inshore and offshore, in Australia and Portugal.

Caudrelier, who will skipper Dongfeng again after securing third place in 2014-15, is delighted with the addition of what he describes as two exceptionally gifted female sailors.

“I chose Carolijn because she beat us many times during the last race when she helmed Team SCA in the In-Port Races,” he explained.

“We all knew that she is a good helm and she has a big Olympic past and I really respect that. But her Olympic campaigns have turned her into a very fast driver and she knows where to put the boat.”

He added that Riou’s years of Olympic racing and training would be of great benefit to his squad.

French female sailor Marie Riou

Marie Riou. Credit: Eloi Stichelbaut/Dongfeng Race Team

“She is a very good Olympic sailor with tons of experience. She is also from Brittany so she has a background in offshore sailing,” he noted.

“She is strong, she has a good spirit – which is the most important thing for me – and she is used to sailing with guys. For her, the Volvo Ocean Race is a dream and, like Carolijn, Marie wants to win,” added Caudrelier.

The selection of Brouwer and Riou is the first sign that the rule change, brought in by the Volvo Ocean Race in order to encourage female sailors who might otherwise be overlooked due to a perceived lack of physical strength or experience, will have a significant impact across the sport.

Under the new crew rules, all-male teams will be limited to just seven sailors but teams that include female sailors will be able to choose from combinations including seven men plus one or two women; five men plus five women; or 11 women.

Members of the Dongfeng Race Team who are training for the Volvo OCean Race 2017-18

Dongfeng Race Team training. Credit: Bu Duomen

Brouwer says that winning the Volvo Ocean Race has been a goal for many years, and she is delighted to be joining a Chinese team which she admired during the last race.

“I’m very proud to be part of the team,” Brouwer said. “One of the reasons I wanted to join Dongfeng Race Team is because of their strong team spirit.”

“The Volvo Ocean Race is unique. It’s the ultimate challenge physically and mentally and, because you are in a team, you get the best out of each other,” added the Ditch sailor.

Riou will be making her debut in the race. “I’ve wanted to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race since I was 10 years old,” she said.

“Although my main experience is in inshore racing, I have always wanted to race offshore and for me the Volvo Ocean Race is the pinnacle of fully-crewed offshore racing,” added Riou.

The announcement of the remaining crew members of Dongfeng Race Team will be made in the coming weeks.

Dongfeng are one of three teams to have announced campaigns for the race so far, along with Team AkzoNobel (Netherlands) and MAPFRE (Spain).

A fourth team is confirmed and will be announced in late March, with the others to come in the following weeks and months.

The race will start from Alicante on 22 October 2017 and visit Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport RI, Cardiff and Gothenburg, before the big finish in The Hague at the end of June 2018.


8 February 2017

The Volvo Ocean Race will celebrate 45 years of history with a Legends Race on the final leg of the 2017-18 edition from Gothenburg to The Hague.

Any yacht to have featured in the Whitbread Round the World Race or Volvo Ocean Race, dating back to 1973-74, will be welcome to join in.

The race will be run over the same course, and around the same time, as the closing leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, which starts from Gothenburg on 21 June 2018.

Tracy Edwards in the Whitbread Round the World Race 1989-90

1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race: Tracy Edwards, Skipper of Maiden. Credit: Tanya Visser/PPL

Among those planning to take part in the 2018 race is Tracy Edwards MBE.

She skippered the all-female Maiden team to two leg victories in their class in the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World race and is planning to reunite her crew and the boat.

Tracy Edwards’ iconic Maiden is coming home in 2017

“Maiden was found in a sad state a few years ago in the Seychelles and since then I have been working very hard to get her back, restore her and get her back in her former glory again,” said Edwards.

“She will shortly be shipped back to the UK for a renovation program and our aim is the gather the original all-female crew from 1989-90 and compete in the new Legends Race 2018.” she added.

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The plan for the Legends Race is to include a Maxi class, a Volvo Ocean 60 class and Open class.

Both Sweden and Holland have a proud history in the Volvo Ocean Race and a large number of fans who have followed the event through the years.

Steinlager 2, winner of the 89-90 Whitbread Round the World Race

Steinlager 2 which Sir Peter Blake skippered to victory in the 89-90 Whitbread. Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race

“The Legends Race will add a lot of excitement to the Stopover in Gothenburg because there are many fans in Sweden who are devoted to the history of the Volvo Ocean Race,” said Camilla Nyman, CEO of Gothenburg & Co, organisers of the stopover in Gothenburg.

“We’ll be welcoming famous yachts and crews to the heart of Gothenburg and fans will get to see a lot of legendary yachts and familiar faces,” she stated.

The head of the team organising the finish of the race at The Hague, Frank van der Peet, added: “Holland has a long and successful history with the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race so we are very enthusiastic about welcoming these magnificent and historic race boats to The Hague.”


27 January 2017

For the first time in more than a decade, the Volvo Ocean Race will be stopping over in Melbourne, Australia.

The change to the 2017-18 route was announced this morning along with confirmation of all the race dates for this edition of the race.

This will be the eighth time the race has visited Australia.

Team Alvimedica in the Volvo Ocean Race

Credit: Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica /Volvo Ocean Race

With what will be a compressed stopover, Melbourne fits between Cape Town and Hong Kong, and completes a 45,000-nautical mile route that will see the teams cover three times as many miles in the Southern Ocean as in previous editions.

Cape Town to Melbourne will now make up Leg 3 of the race – a double-point scoring, 6,300-nautical mile leg.

Melbourne will host a week-long stopover, but no In-Port Race, before the fleet leaves on Leg 4 to Hong Kong.

According to projections, the one-design Volvo Ocean 65 fleet will arrive around Christmas Day – meaning an extra reason to celebrate in the state capital of Victoria.

Australia’s history with the Volvo Ocean Race goes all the way back to the first edition in 1973-74 and, in total, Australia has hosted the race seven times.

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The race first came to Melbourne in 2005-06 and now returns for a second time.

“We’re delighted to be visiting Melbourne again – a vibrant city of sport and culture with a strong maritime heritage,” said Volvo Ocean Race COO, Richard Mason.

“Having been born in Australia myself, I couldn’t be more excited to see the race head Down Under, and I know that sailing fans across the nation will be full of excitement to see the boats and sailors for themselves,” he added.

The full 2017-18 route now features a total of 10 legs taking in 12 landmark host cities on six continents.

The teams will leave Alicante, Spain on 22 October 2017 and race on to Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne and Hong Kong before a non-scoring transition to Guangzhou in China.

A map showing the route of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

The 2017-18 route

After a stopover in Guangzhou that will include a race in the In-Port Series, the ocean legs will resume with a leg to Auckland before stopping in Itajaí, Brazil, Newport, Rhode Island, Cardiff and Gothenburg, before the big finish in the Dutch city of The Hague.

The two Southern Ocean legs – from Cape Town to Melbourne, and Auckland to Itajaí – plus the North Atlantic leg near the end of the race, Newport to Cardiff – will all score double points.

The longest leg of the 45,000-nautical mile lap of the planet will now be the 7,600-nautical mile leg from Auckland to Itajaí.

The Volvo Ocean Race recently announced a series of major changes to the rules of the 43-year-old classic adventure, including a major incentive for teams to compete with mixed male-female crews.

The addition of the Melbourne stopover means the race has locked in dates across the whole 2017-18 route.

The key dates are as follows:


Race Village opens – 11 October 2017

Alicante In-Port Race ­– 14 October 2017

Leg 1 Start – 22 October 2017


In-Port Race – 28 October 2017

Leg 2 Start – 5 November 2017

Cape Town

In-Port Race – 8 December 2017

Leg 3 Start – 10 December 2017


Leg 4 Start – 2 January 2018

Hong Kong

In-Port Race – 27 January 2018


In-Port Race – 4 February 2018

Leg 5 Start – 7 February 2018


In-Port Race – 10 March 2018

Leg 6 Start – 18 March 2018


In-Port Race – 20 April 2018

Leg 7 Start – 22 April 2018


In-Port Race – 19 May 2018

Leg 8 Start – 20 May 2018


In-Port Race – 8 June 2018

Leg 9 Start – 10 June 2018


In-Port Race – 17 June 2018

Leg 10 Start – 21 June 2018

The Hague

In-Port Race – 30 June 2018


23 January 2017

The first official action of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 will be the Alicante In-Port Race on Saturday, 14 October, with the race itself kicking off on Sunday, 22 October when the teams will sail Leg 1 from Alicante to Lisbon.

The Alicante Race Village will be open for 12 days from 11-22 October, 2017.

The full Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 schedule will be announced later in the year but there will be a range of events to mark the start of one of the world’s longest and toughest professional sporting event.

The Race Villages will feature a new ‘pit lane’ experience including innovative team bases, where the public will be able to interact with crews in a casual environment. There will also be The Boatyard facility, where repairs are carried out in full view of the crowds.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 route will take the sailors over 45,000 nautical miles around the world and will feature three times as much sailing in the Southern Ocean as in recent editions.

As well as Alicante and Lisbon, the race will also take in Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg before the grand finale in The Hague.

The forthcoming race will be the fourth edition to start from Alicante and the city has already been confirmed as Start Port for two more races after 2017-18.