Team Brunel has won the 7th leg of the race around Cape Horn, from Auckland to Itajai, placing them third in the overall standings

04 April

Team Brunel, skippered by Bouwe Bekking won the Volvo Ocean Race leg around Cape Horn, from Auckland to Itajai, and are now third in the overall race standings.

It was a close call for Team Brunel, who crossed the finishing line just a mile ahead of team DongFeng.

Despite the win, there was a somber mood in the air, following last week’s accident, during which Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag crew member John Fisher fell overboard and was lost at sea.

Bekking said during the Cape Horn Leg press conference: “The whole team are deeply touched by the loss of their opponent and fellow sailor, John Fisher, who went overboard last week on Team Sun Hung Kai/ Scallywag.”

“Although we have won the leg, the team aren’t in a mood to party, which is understandable. The loss of John Fisher has been felt deeply by everyone. Nevertheless, it was a great feeling to finish in first place.”

Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2017  Peter Burling: “It’s good to finally have a good result. I felt we definitely made a lot of improvement since the start of the race. It’s great that it all comes together in this one and incredible tough leg. It probably exceed all my expectations. We did just over 17 knots in a straight line, that’s ridiculous considering the boats we’re in. For now I’m happy to be back a-shore.”

“The worst moment for me was obvious the e-mail we got about the incident with John Fisher. The mood onboard was depressed for a view days and actually it still is. I only can pay my condolences to his family, friends and the rest of the Scallywag team.”

The 7,600 nm Auckland to Itajai leg has been one of the hardest in the history of the race, with strong winds and choppy seas in the Southern Ocean.

Sadly this resulted in the tragic accident on Sun Hung Kai/ Scallywag. Afterwards, Mapfre and Vestas, damaged their masts. Mapfre has continued racing and is currently in fifth place. Vestas is currently on shore in the Falklands. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag have made their way to the Chilean coast, after the unsuccessful search for Fisher.
Bekking commented: “In the entire Volvo Ocean Race we have never had a leg as tough as this one.”

Team Brunel is now in third place in the overall standings.


29 March 

An incident report by Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag on the tragic events of last week when a sailor was lost at sea during Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race has thrown new light on the events leading up to the accident.

The crew of Scallywag has put together a timeline of the accident. John Fisher was lost overboard in the Southern Ocean, approximately 1,400 nautical miles west of Cape Horn.

Some of the key points of the crew’s timeline read:

  • At roughly 1300 UTC SHK/Scallywag surfed down a large wave leading to an accidental crash gybe
  • John Fisher was on deck, in the cockpit. At the time, he was moving forward to tidy up the FR0 sheet and had therefore unclipped his tether as was standard procedure when moving between positions.
  • As the mainsail swung across the boat in the gybe, the mainsheet system caught John and knocked him off the boat. The crew on board believe John was unconscious from the blow before he hit the water.

Conditions were very poor with 35-45 knots, 4 to 5 metre seas and showers reducing visibility. The report. Despite the JON buoy and the horseshoe buoy being thrown off the back of the boat to mark the position of the MOB, by the time the boat was under control and could motor sail back to the position near to the position of the incident the crew could not locate Fisher.

With input from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and Race Control in Alicante, a search and rescue operation was carried out for several hours but there was no sign of Fisher, the horseshoe buoy, or the JON buoy.

27 March

Volvo Ocean Race President Richard Brisius has given an update on the search for John Fisher, the Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag sailor who is still missing at sea after being lost overboard on Monday.

Brisius said: “Given the cold water temperature and the extreme sea state, along with the time that has now passed since he went overboard, we must now presume that John has been lost at sea.”

Despite a lengthy search and rescue operation, Fisher has not been recovered.

Brisius’ update, posted on the Volvo Ocean Race website, continues: “This is heart-breaking for all of us. As sailors and race organisers losing a crew member at sea is a tragedy we don’t ever want to contemplate. We are devastated and our thoughts are with John’s family, friends and teammates.”

Image from day 9 on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. Credit: Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

Image from day 9 on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. Credit: Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race confirmed that it had coordinated with the team on board Scallywag and the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, who located a ship and diverted it towards the scene. But at current speeds it remains over a day away.

“With the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet approximately 200 miles downwind, sending them back upwind to assist, against gale to storm force winds, was not a viable option,” the statement continues.

The Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag team are said to be emotionally and physically drained. The team helped the search for Fisher in extremely challenging conditions for several hours after the incident but were unable to recover their teammate.

The team has now resumed heading in a north-easterly direction.

The weather is deteriorating and is forecast to be quite severe over the course of today.

27 March

Rescue crews in desperate search for a sailor who was reported overboard by Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag in gale force conditions 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn.

A search and rescue operation is continuing for a crew member John Fisher from Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag who was lost overboard during Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

John Fisher was reported overboard on Monday 26 March. Race Control was informed of a man overboard incident at approximately 13.42 (UTC). The incident took place around 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn.

The British man was wearing survival equipment and was on watch when he went overboard. The wind in the search area is a strong 35-knot westerly, with accompanying sea state. Water temperature is 9-degrees Celsius. There is daylight, but weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate in the coming hours.

Volvo Ocean Race. John Fisher on board Auckland to Itajai, day 9 on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag

John Fisher pictured on board on 25 March, 2018. Credit: Konrad Frost / Volvo Ocean Race

The teams were on Day 9 of Leg 7, a 7,600-mile race from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajaí, Brazil.

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) is continuing to search the area and has requested a ship 400 miles away divert to the scene.

In an update at 01.00 posted by Volvo Ocean Race, officials reported that there was still daylight, but weather conditions are forecast to deteriorate in the coming hours, and darkness will come at approximately 01:20 UTC.

Volvo Ocean Race Sun Hung Kai/ Scallywag

This image from on board Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag on 25 March shows tough conditions and the caption includes a note that the ‘temperature has dropped’. Credit: Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Rac

The report said: “Given the severity of the forecast and with nightfall an hour away, we acknowledge the chances of a successful recovery are diminishing.”

The remaining crew are reported safe. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag made the difficult decision to turn downwind and head towards the South American coast late on Monday, the nearest safe landfall, approximately 1,200 nautical miles away.

Words: Chantal Borciani

9 March

Australian Olympic winning medalist Nina Curtis and French offshore sailor Thomas Rouxel will join Team Brunel for Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai in Brazil.

Rouxel competed in the previous edition of the Volvo Ocean Race for Dongfeng Race Team, whilst Curtis makes her debut in the race. Boat captain Abby Ehler will also return, after taking a break from the last Leg to visit family in the UK.

A Volvo Ocean Race yacht sailing into the sunset

Team Brunel during the Prologue, Volvo Ocean Race

Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking comments: “First of all I think the good thing is that we have our boat captain again back. Abby had a leg off just to see her little boy back home in England. Louis Balcaen (BEL) gets replaced as planned by Thomas Rouxel (FRA). Rouxel was with Dongfeng Race Team last time and is at the moment deeply involved in the Gitana project. That’s the big foiling trimaran and also sailed with Seb Josse in the Transat Jacques-Vabre. He’s a hands on guy as well so we’re happy to have him here.”

Bekking continues: “Then we got one more person because Annie is still not fit enough to join, we found Nina Curtis. She is an Aussie girl, has won an Olympic medal and did a couple of long offshore races and looks to be a very fit person so she is stepping in. With Sally Barkow we had an agreement for two Legs, she needs to get back to her job on the M32 sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race.”

Nina Curtis Volvo Ocean Race

Australian former Olympic sailor Nina Curtis won a silver medal in London 2012, and is taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time. She says: “I’m very excited. Most of my sailing has been done in the Olympic circuit. I’ve done two Olympics campaigns, making it to London where we won the silver medal. Then sailing in the Nacra and the 49erFX in the last four years. While I was match racing, I have done two Sydney to Hobarts and for that lots of ocean racing. Mostly along the East coast of Australia.”

“I’ve known Kyle Langford for a while and I have actually sailed with Abby a few times while I was very young. I don’t even know if she remembers that or not.”

Thomas Rouxel volvo ocean race

Thomas Rouxel is looking forward to going into the Southern Ocean from Auckland to Itajai, all the way around Cape Horn. Rouxel: “I think Team Brunel is a very great and very strong team. I’m very excited to be back in the Volvo Ocean Race. Unfortunately, the result was not the one we hoped for in the last leg but I’m sure we can do a lot better. So I hope that will happen and I can do my part in it.”


26 January

The organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race have confirmed that team Vestas 11th Hour Racing won’t be taking part in Leg 5 of the event and in the inshore racing in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China.

The team is currently repairing their boat, after it was damaged during a collision with a finishing vessel which resulted in the death of a crew member of the trawler during Leg 4 of the race, on Saturday 20 January.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing Team Director and skipper Mark Towill said: “First and foremost, our thoughts and condolences are with the families affected by this tragic incident,”.

“At this time, we are still assessing all of our options to return to the race,” said skipper Charlie Enright. “We once again thank everyone for their continued support.”

The In-Port Race and Around Hong Kong Race take place this weekend, and the Pro-Am Racing at the start of next week, in Hong Kong.

The fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s will then depart in Leg 5 for Guangzhou on Wednesday 31 January for the next stopover in mainland China.


20 January 

Onboard AzkoNobel in the South Pacific

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, day 14. Onboard AzkoNobel in the South Pacific. Credit: Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race

Team AkzoNobel crossed the finishing line first in Hong Kong, claiming the podium on Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Team skipper Simeon Tienpont said: “It’s a real boost, and it gives us confidence. It’s important for the rest of the race. You work hard and you try to find that gap, performance-wise. These guys and girls didn’t flinch once, and we kept fighting back.”

He continued: “In the end, Scallywag pulled a good card. They were 100 miles back, but that’s sailing – I’m happy for them! We all work to be at the front. Everyone on board wants to win, and it’s not over til it’s over.”

Leg 4 certainly proved challenging for Tienpont and Team Akzonobel. “It was the biggest Doldrums I’ve ever crossed,” he said. “A lot of tactics, crew work, no sleep, changing sails, manoeuvres, and frustration.

“But I think we did really well – compliments to the team. You get unlucky moments but it’s how to deal with those and I think we did that well.”

There was late drama for the team as they diverted course on the final approach to Hong Kong to support Vestas 11th Hour Racing following a collision with another vessel – but after receiving the all clear to continue racing, AkzoNobel finally crossed the line 17 days 21 hours and 6 seconds after departing Melbourne.


19 January 2018

With less than 50 miles to go to the finish line of Leg 4, skipper David Witt and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag should make history as the first Hong Kong flagged vessel to win a leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag still has a 50-mile jump on Vestas 11th Hour Racing as Leg 4 draws to a close.

Victory will be all the sweeter as this is the first time the race has finished in Hong Kong. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag is expected to arrive in Hong Kong between 1630 and 1830 UTC.

On Wednesday, Scallywag had a lead of 40 miles on second-placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing when it entered Stealth Mode, which hid its position from rivals and from fans. Stealth Mode is an option the teams can deploy to cloak their location from view, hiding their position from the other race teams.

In a nail-biting turn of events, just as Scallywag reappeared on the tracker the two podium challengers Vestas 11th Hour Racing and team AkzoNobel deployed Stealth Mode.

Today, with less than 50 miles to the finish, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag has a lead of around 50 miles.

The battle for second place between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Dongfeng Race Team continues with only 15 miles splitting them.

16 January 2018

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag had a hairy moment on Sunday (14 January) when they had to deal with a  man overboard situation.

Crew member Alex Gough was washed overboard by a wave during a sail change  on Sunday afternoon, in winds of 15-20 knots.


The team swung into recovery mode, and Gough was back on board within just seven minutes, unharmed. Scallywag resumed racing immediately.

“He went out on the outrigger, I was driving, and we went off a big sea and it picked him up threw him off, like a horse,” skipper David Witt said.

“The main thing is, we got him back on board. He’s safe. But I think it’s shown everyone how hard it is to see the guy in the water. Even on a sunny day, 18 knots of wind… You wouldn’t want to be doing this in 20 knots in the dark.”

Alex Gough wasn’t wearing a harness or a lifejacket when he fell into the water.
“I was pretty stupid, but luckily the guys were on to it. They turned around bloody quickly,” Gough said. “I’m good. I’m fine. It was a bit scary… But off we go again.”

Witt says he should have been had tied to a line or have told the helmsman what he was doing, before he went outside the lifelines on the outrigger.

The incident lost Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag a few miles , but they managed to retain the lead.

Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel continue to take a northerly option in comparison to the rest of the fleet, but to this point, are not seeing significantly different weather conditions.

MAPFRE has worked well to push out some 30 miles ahead of Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Brunel but remains at least 150 miles directly behind Scallywag and with some work to do to reel in the leaders as the fleet winds and weaves through the islands, islets and atolls of Micronesia.

2 January 2018

Racing was tight as the Volvo Ocean Race Melbourne to Hong Kong Leg 4 got underway.

Overall leader MAPFRE initially led the fleet off the starting line as the boats raced up Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay but after four hours it was Vestas 11th Hour Racing leading the pack, with the Spanish boat close behind in second place and Team Brunel a tight third.

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong on board MAPFRE. Volvo Ocean Race.

On board MAPFRE on day 1 of Leg 4. Credit: Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race

Along with the neck and neck racing, the fleet battled a heavy sea and challenging conditions as they neared the entrance to the Bay.

The 5,600 nautical mile leg marks the first time the Volvo Ocean Race will head to Hong Kong with the fleet racing up the east coast of Australia, into the Coral Sea and north to the historic port.

Shortly after Leg 4 got underway, the wind increased from 10 to near 20 knots with MAPFRE leading Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Team Brunel, Turn the Tide on Plastic and Dongfeng Race Team out towards the right hand side.

Leg 4, Melbourne to Hong Kong, on board Dongfeng. Credit: Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race

On board Dongfeng on Leg 4. Credit: Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race

Team AkzoNobel and SHK/Scallywag split hard from the others towards the left. Early signs showed a slight advantage to skipper Xabi Fernández on board MAPFRE after tacking back towards the turning mark near Mornington. However, Scallywag with Australian skipper David Witt and new crew member Grant Wharington, and Vestas 11th Hour Racing had soon joined the battle for the lead.

Day 1 on Leg 4 on board with MAPFRE. Volvo Ocean Race

Day 1 on Leg 4 on board with MAPFRE. Credit: Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race.

At the turning mark, Scallywag fell back leaving Vestas 11 Hour Racing, MAPFRE and Team Brunel leading the charge. Dongfeng lies in fourth place after recovering well after completing a penalty turn on the start line.

This is an ideal start for Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s new skipper Mark Towill, who has stepped in on Leg 4 to replace Charlie Enright, who returned home due to a family medical emergency. For Towill and crew, the winners of Leg 1, this is an opportunity to put some pressure on overall leader MAPFRE.

Leg 4 on board Dongfeng.Volvo Ocean Race.

Heading north on Day 2 on board Dongfeng. Credit: Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race

The opening part of Leg 4 is shaping up to be a fast one with a long downwind blast northwards up the Australian east coast next.

Leg 4 – Position Report – Tuesday 2 January (Day 1) – 07:20 UTC

1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing — distance to finish – 5,532.6 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE +0.3 nautical miles
3. Team Brunel +0.7
4. Dongfeng Race Team +0.9
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic +1.4
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +2.6
7. team AkzoNobel +3.9

Words: Chantal Borciani

27 December 2017

Team MAPFRE has won the gruelling 6,500 nautical mile race from Cape Town, South Africa to Melbourne, Australia, followed by Dongfeng in second place.

Spanish MAPFRE had to pass Dongfeng Race Team mid-stage to snatch the Leg 3 win and notched up the highest work rate in terms of manoeuvres of all the teams on the leg, which allowed them to stay in more favourable conditions for longer.

MAPFRE arrived into Melbourne on Christmas Eve to earn consecutive leg wins.

Leg 03, Cape Town to Melbourne. Arrival in Melbourne. Photo by Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race. 24 December, 2017.

MAPFRE arriving into Melbourne. Credit: Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race

“We had to fight very hard for this victory,” explained skipper Xabi Fernández after crossing the finish line. “There’s so much of the race to go. But for now it’s looking good and we’re very happy of course.”

The gruelling Southern Ocean pushed all the teams to the limit as they battled extreme cold, towering seas and storm-force winds battered the fleet for most of the leg.

Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 14, Southern Ocean sailing on board Vestas 11th Hour. Photo by Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race. 23 December, 2017. Southern Ocean sailing on board Vestas 11th Hour.

Leg 3. Day 14 on board Vestas 11th Hour. Credit: Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race

Dongfeng Race Team was able to fend off a late charge by Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel to secure a second place finish on Leg 3, which moves them to second on the overall leaderboard.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing grabbed the final podium position over Team Brunel at the Melbourne finish line. Team Brunel, who finished in fourth place, set the Omega 24-hour speed record on Leg 3, notching up 538.1 nautical miles, for an average speed of 22.4 knots, in favourable conditions on the day before they reached the finish line.

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 3 Sun on board with Hung Kai/Scallywag.

Christmas Eve on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. Credit: Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

Fifth place in Leg 3 went to Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag who managed to hold off Turn the Tide on Plastic, for the second consecutive leg.

All seven boats in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet have now finished in Melbourne, with team AkzoNobel ghosting through Port Phillip Bay in near calm conditions to cross the line just before 10:30am on Thursday morning (local time).

Leg 3 Volvo Ocean Race. AKZONOBEL

Leg 3, day 17 on board AkzoNobel. Credit: James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

It was a frustrating end to a difficult leg that saw the team fall behind the rest of the fleet after damaging their mast track during a gybe in heavy weather.

Leg 3 – Results at Wednesday 27 December (Leg 3, Day 18) at 23:30 UTC

1. MAPFRE — FINISHED — 16:07.21 UTC, December 24 – 14 days, 04h:07m:21s
2. Dongfeng Race Team — FINISHED – 20:10:16 UTC, December 24 – 14 days, 08h:10m:16s
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing — FINISHED – 21:52:11 UTC, December 24 – 14 days, 09h:52m:11s
4. Team Brunel — FINISHED – 23:36:27 UTC, December 24 – 14 days, 11h:36m:27s
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag — FINISHED – 01:06:31 UTC, December 26 – 15 days, 13h:06m:31s
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic — FINISHED – 03:52:50 UTC, December 26 – 15 days, 15h:52m:50s
7. team AkzoNobel — FINISHED – 23:24:45 UTC, December 27 – 17 days, 11h:24m:45s

Volvo Ocean Race – Current Leaderboard

1. MAPFRE — FINISHED — 29 points (after Leg 3)
2. Dongfeng Race Team — FINISHED — 23 points (after Leg 3)
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing — FINISHED — 23 points (after Leg 3)
4. Team Brunel — FINISHED — 14 points (after Leg 3)
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag — FINISHED — 11 points (after Leg 3)
6. team AkzoNobel — FINISHED — 9 points (after Leg 3)
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic — FINISHED — 6 points (after Leg 3)

Words: Chantal Borciani

21 December 2017

MAPFRE lead the race with around 1,500 nautical miles left to Melbourne.

Xabi Fernández’s team snatched the lead from Dongfeng Race Team, stretching out a 10-mile advantage over Dongfeng on 20 December, breaking the Leg 3 deadlock after 10 days at sea.

The leg is proving physically demanding as ever as the leading boats continue to battle.

Racing along the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone, MAPFRE made 16 gybes between 2130 UTC 20 December and 0500 UTC 21 December – averaging two per hour and extended their lead to 16.5 miles.

Both boats are now past the northernmost limit of the gate.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel remain around 115 miles behind the leaders.

15  December 2017

AkzoNobel suffered damage to the track that attaches the mainsail to the back edge of the mast which has forced the crew to slow the boat down whilst they assess the problem and repair the craft.

AkzoNobel navigator Jules Salter (GBR) reported the issue to Volvo Ocean Race control by email on Thursday morning (14 December). The damage happened as the crew was in fourth place, gybing along the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone (AIEZ) in 35 knots of wind and big seas.

The mainsail track on the mast was damaged in two places during one gybe from starboard to port .
The AkzoNobel crew were able to lower the mainsail and turn the boat away from the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone. They are currently using the boat’s forward sails only to continue to race.

There are no reports of any injuries on board as a result of the damage and the crew is liaising with Volvo Ocean Race’s race control staff and the team’s land based technical shore crew to establish what repair options are available to them.


6 November 2017

Dongfeng Race Team had a strong start into an early lead as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet embarked on Leg 2, a 7,000 nautical mile race from Lisbon to Cape Town.

Conditions were ideal for the leg start, with bright blue skies, and a 15-20 knot Northerly breeze that allowed the fleet to reach up and down the Tagus River past the city front of Lisbon.

After exiting the river and heading offshore past Cascais, the wind is forecast to reach over 30-knots, with a heavy ocean swell near 4-metres.

“It’s going to be fast,” said Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier. “We have been preparing for this, training in strong winds for six months, so I hope we are ready. We have some good drivers in these conditions so I hope we will be fast.”

Within 15-minutes of clearing the mouth of the river, the fleet was already seeing over 30-knots of wind and Dongfeng Race Team recorded a speed of nearly 33-knots.

Race leader Vestas 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright was in a strong position early, but appeared to be caught out with too much sail up for the final stretch down the river, and fell back to fifth place.

“We’re confident, but not cocky,” Enright said ahead of the start. “We want to take what we’ve learned and apply it to leg 2. It’s going to be a much different leg. It will be a lot more boatspeed oriented and we’re looking forward to that.”

“The real race starts now,” said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández. “Today we will sail in a couple of days in heavy winds. Everyone will be competitive so we’ll need to go as fast as we can.”

Leg 2 – Position Report – Sunday 5 November (Day 1) 

1. Dongfeng Race Team — distance to finish – 5,094.2 nautical miles
2. Team Brunel +0.2nm
3. MAPFRE + 0.6
4. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +0.9
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +1.6
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +1.8
7. team AkzoNobel +1.8


31 October 2017

Seven teams are currently battling out to win the 2017 – 2018 Volvo Ocean Race. Team Brunel (skippered by Bouwe Bekking), AkzoNobel (skippered by Simeon Tienpont), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier), MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández), Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright), Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (David Witt) and Turn The Tide On Plastic (Dee Caffari) will sail 4,500 nautical miles over 9 months, starting in Alicante and visiting 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. But how does the Volvo Ocean Race work? Watch the video below and get to know the race like a pro.

23 October 2017

Dutch offshore sailor Simeon Tienpont has returned as skipper of Team Akzonobel for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

The revelation came as Team AkzoNobel submitted its final crew list just ahead of the dockout time.

The team has been in flux since it was announced one week ago that Tienpont had left the team and had been replaced by watch captain Brad Jackson.

But on Friday evening (20 October), Tienpont won an arbitration judgement allowing him to return to the team and just hours before start time, the team submitted an updated crew list with Tienpont leading a newly constituted squad.

Jackson, as well as previous navigator Jules Salter, are not on the boat.

“I am relieved to be back with my team and excited to be getting our Volvo Ocean Race campaign underway,” Tienpont said in a statement thanking Jackson as well as Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, who agreed to let António Fontes race with the AkzoNobel crew for Leg 1.

Meanwhile, Dongfeng Race Team powered its way into an early lead yesterday (21 October), as the Volvo Ocean Race got underway.

Leg 1 will see the team race 1,450 nautical miles to Lisbon, Portugal, and conditions were good with bright sunshine and a 15-20 knot Easterly breeze.

Continued below…

The bay off the Alicante sea front was crowded with hundreds of spectator boats, ringing a short inshore race course, before the fleet was free to fly off, downwind, towards Gibraltar.

They were treated to some of the most intense racing ever seen in the opening minutes of a Volvo Ocean Race.

Two Volvo Ocean Race competitors bye for an early lead

Dongfeng took the early lead. Credit: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

The highlight came on the approach to the final turning mark before leaving the bay, when Dongfeng Race Team came screaming in on a collision course with Team Brunel and MAPFRE, both of whom were forced into a quick gybe to avoid the right of way Chinese boat.

Separated by less than a meter at times, as they went through their manoeuvres, the on water Umpires judged neither Brunel nor MAPFRE had kept sufficiently clear and penalised both, pushing them back down the fleet.

“This is going to be such a close race, every meter counts,” Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier had said before the start. “We know we will be fighting all the way to the finish.”

After winning round one of the fight, Dongfeng then sped off with the lead, with Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Turn the Tide on Plastic in close pursuit.

17 October 2017

Three-time Volvo Ocean Race winner Brad Jackson is the new skipper of AkzoNobel.

The 49-year-old  from Auckland, New Zealand is competing in his seventh Volvo Ocean Race after coaching the Swedish all-women entry Team SCA in the 2014-15 edition.

Jackson will take on the skipper role as well as his watch captain commitments shared with three-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran and 2008-09 edition winner Joca Signorini.

Jackson’s appointment follows the recent shock departure of Simeon Tienpont from the team.

A purple and blue Volvo Ocean Race yacht

Team AkzoNobel. Credit: Brian Carlin/Volvo Ocean Race

“It’s a privilege to lead a team of people as talented and committed as this one – both on the water and on shore,” Jackson said yesterday (16 October).

“The credit for the quality of team AkzoNobel should go to Simeon Tienpont. We have been through a difficult time since Simeon’s departure, but I’m proud of the way everyone at team AkzoNobel has responded and now it’s time for us to focus on the race, which begins in just six days’ time,” continued the skipper.


“I’m grateful for the support I have received from within the team. It’s not the ideal preparation for the race that we had hoped for, but I know we can move forward quickly and be racing hard on start day,” added Jackson.

A Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 sailor in red wet weather gear

Brad Jackson. Credit: Tom Martienssen/Volvo Ocean Race

As well as Signorini, Jackson’s crew includes British three-time Volvo Ocean Race competitor and 2008-09 edition winner Jules Salter, 2005-06 competitor Australian Luke Molloy, Brazilian Olympic gold medalist Martine Grael, Danish match racing skipper Nicolai Sehested, young up-and-coming New Zealand sailor Brad Farrand, and 23-year-old Bermudian Emily Nagel – the youngest female sailor in the current edition of the race.

Team AkzoNobel sailing team line up:
Brad Jackson (NZL) – skipper
Brad Farrand (NZL) – bowman, sail trimmer
Martine Grael (BRA) – sail trimmer
Luke Molloy (AUS) – helmsman, sail trimmer
Emily Nagel (BER) – sail trimmer
Jules Salter (GBR) – navigator
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) – boat captain, helmsman, sail trimmer
Joca Signorini (BRA) – watch captain, helmsman, sail trimmer

16 October 2017

Team AkzoNobel is now looking for a new skipper to lead its crew in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

It comes after the team announced that Dutch sailor Simeon Teinpont would no longer be on board.

The first leg of the race begins on Sunday (22 October).

Simeon Tienpont in a blue T-shirt

Simeon Tienpont. Credit: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Team AkzoNobel allege that “Simeon Tienpont’s management company STEAM breached its contract to manage the team AkzoNobel entry in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18”

This has been publicly denied by Teinpont who told the sailing media that the claims were “absolutely unfounded and (are) very damaging to my reputation, especially in view of the timing, just before the start of the race”.

In a statement, Team AkzoNobel said the breach “was serious enough for AkzoNobel to terminate the contract with immediate effect and AkzoNobel then took over the full management of the team. Simeon was offered the option to continue as skipper but opted not to continue and has left the team”.

“AkzoNobel has restated to us its unwavering commitment to our entry in the Volvo Ocean Race. The sailing team and management are working together to move forward and find the best solution for the race which starts in seven days’ time.”

“As soon as the new skipper is confirmed we will make sure our sailing fans are the first to know about it.”

“In the world of professional sport and particularly in major global sporting competitions like the Volvo Ocean Race, teams have to be able to deal with whatever adversities come their way.

“We are all working in the best interest for the team and the Volvo Ocean Race,” added Team AkzoNobel in its statement.

Meanwhile in his statement, Tienpont said he could “only guess that it is about a small budget overrun on a safety issue”. He said he and this company “have always been 100% transparent to AkzoNobel about our financial affairs and all our expenses have been made with their approval.”


“It is them, not me, who is in clear breach of the contract,” alleged Tienpont.

“It has always been my aim to run a safe, sustainable, and winning campaign for AkzoNobel and I still want to do so. My other sponsors and partners supporting the team, my sailing and shore crew employed, were very confident in our approach to represent AkzoNobel in the very best way possible,” said Tienpont.

“It came as a huge and unpleasant surprise when AkzoNobel terminated the contract during the Prologue at the time the team was at sea. Tienpont and his team will now regroup and try to develop options to continue with this winning campaign,” continued the statement.

The controversy comes as the first in-port race took place over the weekend.

Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 yacht MAPFRE

MAPFRE during the in-port race in Alicante. Credit: Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

Xabi Fernández’s MAPFRE were out in front from the start. They had a one minute lead by the time they reached the bottom gate which they never relinquished.

But behind them, it was a hard-fought race. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag were strong on the first leg, but dropped back over the course of the race.

In contrast, Dongfeng Race Team fought up the fleet to grab second place, battling with Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel who were trading places throughout the race.

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag made a late gain to grab fifth over team AkzoNobel with Turn the Tide on Plastic never recovering from a poor first leg.

The results after the import race in Alicante during the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18


06 October 2017

Turn the Tide on Plastic have added British offshore sailor, Brian Thompson, and French solo sailor, Nicolas Lunven, to their crew ahead of the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

Describing Thompson as “one of the fastest people on the water”, skipper Dee Caffari said she he would be invaluable to her team.

A vastly experienced offshore sailor, Thompson has broken the round the world record twice, and sailed non-stop around the world four times, the first British sailor to accomplish this.

He was also part of the winning ABN AMRO ONE crew in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race.

“I’m really thrilled that Brian Thompson is part of our team,” Caffari said.

“He has broken more speed records than just about anyone else in sailing and having sailed many miles with Brian in the past, I am confident that he will bring a calm knowledge and air of confidence to our team,” she added.

French sailor Nicolas Lunven won the gruelling Solitaire du Figaro in 2009 at the age of just 26 and has since secured podium places in the event in 2012 and 2016. He also sailed as navigator with MAPFRE at the beginning of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.

“It’s a pleasure to have Nico join the team,” Caffari said. “He is an accomplished short-handed sailor, culminating as the French Figaro champion this year.”

“We will harness his experience, and welcome him as an adaptable and tenacious team member. Two invaluable qualities to the team’s cohesion and performance,” she noted.

Lunven and Thompson will split navigation duties on board Turn the Tide on Plastic.

Lunven is scheduled to be on board through Melbourne, at which point Thompson will join the crew through the Auckland stopover. They will then share the navigator duties through the rest of the race.

“I’m looking forward to sailing and working on navigation with Nico,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be really rewarding and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot.

“I think this is the most interesting team in the race, with the fully mixed crew, the majority being youth sailors and the important sustainability message that the team is carrying around the world,” he added.

A black and white photo of the French solo sailor Nicolas Lunven

Nicolas Lunven. Credit: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

For his part, Lunven says the opportunity to compete against the world’s best sailors in the premiere fully-crewed offshore race was too good to pass up.

“You have to grab these kind of opportunities. I’m really happy to work with Brian. The idea is for us is to work as a ‘pair’ with me sailing the first legs,” he said.

For skipper Caffari, the additional experience that Thompson and Lunven bring to the team is timely and invaluable.

“We have a lot to learn and there are stages to go through until we are fully cohesive,” she said.

“Nico and Brian will aid this process with our mixed youth crew and we have all the motivation, qualities and skills needed to be competitive while upholding a strong message of diversity,” added the British yachtswoman.

This weekend, Turn the Tide on Plastic, along with the other teams, compete in the Prologue leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Seven teams will race their Volvo Ocean 65s nearly 700 nautical miles to Alicante, Spain, the host city and start port of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The Prologue is scheduled to start on Sunday (8 October 2017), with the teams arriving in Alicante on Wednesday/Thursday.

08 September 2017

Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic team have added another four young sailors to their campaign to win the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

Welsh America’s Cup sailor, Bleddyn Mon, fellow Briton Henry Bomby and Portuguese pair, Bernardo Freitas and Frederico Pinheiro de Melo, all earned their places after an intense trial period in Lisbon.

“There is so much young talent out there,” said Caffari, who is delivering on her pledge to bring a mixed male-female crew with a strong youth component to the start line.

A black and white portrait of a sailor

Bleddyn Mon. Credit: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

“Bleddyn Mon is a talented dinghy sailor and was one of the fittest in Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup Land Rover BAR team. As an engineer, he is very analytical, good at checking the data and also a very talented trimmer. I am delighted to have him join our team and look forward to seeing him grow as an offshore sailor,” she stressed.

A black and white portrait of a Volvo Ocean sailor

Henry Bomby. Credit: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

“Henry Bomby has many offshore miles under his belt as a short-handed Figaro sailor, and like most good sailors he can turn his hand to numerous activities on board. He is comfortable with fast speeds and in good physical shape. I’m keen to prove that young talented sailors can be just as competitive as the more experienced veterans of the race.” added Caffari.


The team, which will be promoting the United Nations Environment’s ‘Clean Seas: Turn the Tide on Plastic’ campaign, counts the Portugal-based Mirpuri Foundation as its principal partner and the presence of Bernardo Freitas and Frederico Pinheiro de Melo will strengthen the team’s Portuguese flavour.

“We trialled eight Portuguese sailors to finally select Bernardo and Frederico,” explained Caffari.

Sailors wearing white T-shire pose for a picture

Dee Caffari with Bernardo Freitas and Frederico Pinheiro de Melo. Credit: Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race

“There is limited offshore experience in Portugal but some really good sailors. Both sailors I have chosen are physically strong with good skill sets,” she stated.

Alongside the sustainability focus, inclusivity in age and gender will be a strong theme of the campaign.

Earlier, Turn the Tide on Plastic announced Italian Olympic sailor Francesca Clapcich (29) and Lucas Chapman (25) to the squad, joining skipper Caffari and boat captain Liz Wardley.

The Volvo Ocean Race will visit 12 host cities during the 2017-18 edition – departing Alicante on 22 October, and stopping in Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport USA, Cardiff and Gothenburg.

The finish will be in The Hague in summer 2018.

14 August 2017

Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winning helmsman Peter Burling has joined Team Brunel for the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The Emirates Team New Zealand star is already out sailing with his new teammates in pre-race qualifying.

The signing of the world’s most in-demand sailor is a major coup for Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking, and sets up what should be a compelling rivalry with Burling’s long-term sailing partner Blair Tuke, who is competing with Spanish team MAPFRE.

Together, Burling and Tuke carried the flag for New Zealand at the 2016 Olympics and came home from Rio with a gold medal in the 49er class.

The pair followed up that success by playing influential roles in Emirates Team New Zealand’s victory in the America’s Cup earlier this year.

Burling got his first taste of life onboard Brunel’s Volvo Ocean 65 at the start of an overnight sprint from Plymouth, UK to Saint-Malo, France – the third stage of the Volvo Ocean Race’s Leg Zero qualifying series.

“I’ve always wanted to do this race – although I haven’t done a lot offshore, I’ve always been keen to get involved but always struggled to find the time,” Burling said at dockside in Plymouth. “It seems like good timing and a great opportunity to learn a lot off a pretty experienced team.”

He continued: “Round-the-world ocean racing has always excited me and I’m stoked to be part of Team Brunel on this epic edition. I can’t wait to be thrown into the challenge of extreme offshore racing and broaden my skills and sailing experience.”

Still only 26, Burling is the youngest winning helmsman in America’s Cup history.

Either Burling or Tuke could become the first sailor to complete the Triple Crown of sailing’s major events.

To date, no one has won an Olympic gold medal, the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race. Both teams will start among the favourites.

Pictures of the week: Rolex Fastnet Race special edition

Burling continued: “I’ve sailed against Blair a lot in the past, and I think he’s really enjoying his time onboard MAPFRE. I think both of us will learn a lot before the next time we sail together, and we’ll take on a challenge again together soon.”

Team Brunel were runners-up in 2014-15 under Bekking and have hit the ground running in their preparations for the upcoming race.

Burling is the seventh sailor to be announced for the Dutch team following the signings of America’s Cup sailors Carlo Huisman (NED) and Kyle Langford (AUS); Argentinian Juanpa Marcos; and Volvo Ocean Race veterans Alberto Bolzan (ITA) and Maciel Cicchetti (ARG/ITA), all sailing under skipper Bouwe Bekking (NED).

Wearing a black hat and a smile is Bouwe Bekking who has announced he is leading Team Brunel in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

Bouwe Bekking. Credit: Stefan Coppers/Team Brunel/Volvo Ocean Race

Bekking said: “Peter is one of the most talented sailors in the world, winning an Olympic gold in Rio and the America’s Cup. He’s a huge addition for our team. He is superb driver – one of the fastest – and I think he will adapt very quickly.”

The 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race begins from Alicante on 22 October. The race will take the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world via a series of Host City stops – including Auckland.

“It’s going to be pretty special to be on board to see Auckland, the City of Sails, welcome an epic race like the Volvo Ocean Race,” added Burling.

“Having just toured New Zealand with the America’s Cup I got to witness how much Kiwis really do love sailing – and I know they will really get behind the Volvo Ocean Race coming to town.”

29 June 2017

Team Brunel, led by veteran Volvo Ocean Race sailor, is the seventh confirmed team for the 2017-18 edition of the race.

This will be the eighth time that Bekking has taken part in the race, which he has never won although he has been runner-up in two editions.

No one has sailed more miles in the Volvo Ocean Race than the 54-year-old Dutch sailor, who made his first appearance as a crewmember on Philips Innovator back in 1985-86.

More than 30 years on, and his obsession with the race has only intensified. He skippered Team Brunel to second place in the most recent edition in 2014-15

“In 2014-15 we had a very good result, a result I’m proud of, but I believe we can make further huge steps based on the experience we now have with the One Design boat,” said Bekking earlier this year.

Volvo Ocean Race veteran Bouwe Bekking spays Champagne into the crowd

Bouwe Bekking and his crew celebrate winning the Volvo Ocean race in-port racing day in Alicante, Spain in 2008. Credit: Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race

One of the team’s biggest backers is Brunel, the Dutch-based global project management, recruitment and consultancy company, and its founder Jan Brand.

Brunel are Volvo Ocean Race veterans themselves, having had their first involvement in 1997-98.

The theme of the team’s 2017-18 campaign is ‘Engineering the Future.’ – an initiative of a consortium of Dutch companies, including Brunel, Abel, Royal Huisman and EY.

“The team’s goal is to accelerate the next generation,” explained Bekking.

“We win by bringing together experience and talent, and creating opportunities for the next generation,” he added.

Brunel founder Jan Brand added: “Together, we are able to define new rules and possibilities for the future. Team Brunel empowers the new generation to take the helm.”

With four months to go before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, the starting grid is almost full.

The other confirmed entries are team AkzoNobel (skippered by Simeon Tienpont), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier), MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández), Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright), Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (David Witt) and Turn The Tide On Plastic (Dee Caffari).

The 2017-18 edition will see the teams cover 45,000 nautical miles in a race that features a total of 12 Host Cities and will finish in The Hague, Netherlands at the end of June.

The race will start from Alicante on 22 October, with a maximum of eight One Design Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts in the fleet. Seven of the boats have undergone an extensive refit process after being raced in 2014-15.

The eighth is a brand new yacht, built for team AkzoNobel.

14 June 2017

British round the world yachtswoman Dee Caffari has announced she will be leading a mixed youth focused team during the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

She aims to build a multi-national, 50-50 male/female squad, with the majority under 30 years of age.

The team – Turn the Tide on Plastic – will have a strong sustainability message about ocean health.

Her campaign is already being backed by the Mirpuri Foundation and Ocean Family Foundation.

The sixth confirmed team out of a possible eight for the upcoming edition will amplify United Nations Environment’s ‘Clean Seas: Turn the Tide on Plastic’ campaign throughout the eight months of the race, which covers 45,000 nautical miles around the world.

British yachtswoman Dee Caffari unfurling a staysail

Credit: Corinna Halloran/Team SCA/Volvo Ocean Race

Messages around diversity in age and gender will also be strong themes of Caffari’s campaign.

“I’m absolutely delighted to get the opportunity to sail for a cause I am so passionate about,” said Caffari, who was part of the all female crew of Team SCA which finished sixth in the 2014–15 Volvo Ocean Race

“The Volvo Ocean Race is the ultimate test of a team in sport, and with the ambition to race with a youth-orientated international mixed crew, we are looking to make an impact on and off the water,” she added.

Caffari’s team is already part-funded by the Mirpuri Foundation and Ocean Family Foundation (OFF), who join an increasing number of partners backing Volvo Ocean Race’s campaign on ocean health and sustainability.

The Mirpuri Foundation is a non-profit organisation set up by Portuguese businessman and philanthropist Paulo Mirpuri with the aim of making the world a better place for future generations.


In addition to raising awareness around the growing issue of ocean pollution, the partnership is part of the Mirpuri Foundation’s long-term ambition to build a new chapter in Portugal’s rich maritime history by creating a strong offshore legacy for future generations of Portuguese sailors.

Caffari will include two Portuguese sailors in the team with a view to building a full Portuguese team in future editions of the iconic race.

Alongside the Mirpuri Foundation, the aim of the Ocean Family Foundation is to promote awareness of the effects of pollution, the importance of bio diversity and the necessity for conservation of the world’s oceans.

Caffari is an experienced round-the-world sailor, notable for setting a landmark record in 2006, becoming the first woman to sail single-handed and non-stop the ‘wrong way’ around the world.

Then in 2009, she completed the Vendée Globe race and set a new record to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, around the world in both directions.

“It’s an honour to represent this landmark campaign, and to lead the team on such a prestigious platform is exciting,” said Caffari. “Seeing the amount of plastic in the ocean is heartbreaking. We’re abusing our planet – and this campaign is about pushing people to proactively do something about it.”

Plastic bottles littering the sea bed

Plastic pollution

“We will be sailing with a youth-orientated team because the reality is, it’s going to be the next generations who inherit the mess that we’re making now. This is a major issue and we need to encourage this generation, and future generations, to step up,” stressed Caffari.

The Turn the Tide on Plastic boat will amplify the Volvo Ocean Race’s larger sustainability focus for 2017-18, and joins team AkzoNobel (Simeon Tienpont, Netherlands), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier, France), MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández, Spain), Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright, USA) and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (David Witt, Australia) in the fleet for the 2017-18 edition.

The Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante on 22 October and will stop at Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg before a big finish in The Hague at the end of June 2018.

Meanwhile, race organisers have announced that the race will switch from a 3-year to a 2-year cycle after the upcoming 2017-18 edition.

In a media release, race organisers said the change “will provide more continuity and more commercial value for professional sailing teams, sponsors and Host Cities”.

“Confirmation of the change will mean at least some race activity in every calendar year, from now on – meaning more action for fans of sailing’s iconic race around the world, more continuous employment for the professional sailors involved, and even greater return on investment for the stakeholders backing the teams,” it added.


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.

10 Most iconic young sailors in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race

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.

Sir Peter Blake’s first yacht Bandit is restored to its former glory

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.

Volvo Ocean Race: Longer route but one month shorter

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.