Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) is a yacht race around the world, held every three years. It is named after its current sponsor, Volvo.

Though the route is changed to accommodate various ports of call, the race typically departs Europe in September or October, and in recent years has had either 9 or 10 legs, with in-port races at many of the stopover cities. The next race starts in Alicante, Spain, on October 11, 2008. The route for the 2008-2009 race has been altered from previous years to include stopovers in the Middle East and Asia for the first time. This latest route covers nearly 39,000 nautical miles, will take over nine months to complete, and is expected to reach a cumulative TV audience of 2 billion worldwide.


In 1972 England's Whitbread company and the British Royal Naval Sailing Association agreed to sponsor a globe-circling regatta, which would be called the "Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race”.

17 yachts and 167 crew started the first race of 27,500 nautical miles, which began from Portsmouth, England on September 8, 1973. Approximately 3000 spectator boats set out to witness the historic start.

From 2001 the sponsorship of the race was taken over by Volvo and Volvo Cars and the race was renamed the ‘Volvo Ocean Race’. Stopover ports were added in Germany, France, and Sweden being Volvo's three biggest car markets in Europe.

The worst weather conditions are usually encountered in the Southern Ocean where waves sometimes top 100 feet (30 m) and winds can reach 60 knots (110 km/h).

Volvo Ocean Race 2008 to 2009

The first offshore leg of the 10th Volvo Ocean Race will start in Alicante, Spain, on October 11, 2008, with in-port race seven days earlier.

A total of 10 legs create the route, with seven in-port races held at various cities around the world.

2008-2009 Race Schedule

Event Start Date Finish Nautical Miles Website Link Winner
IP Race Alicante, Spain October 04, 2008 - - IP Alicante Telefonica Blue
Leg 1 Alicante, Spain October 11, 2008 Cape Town, South Africa 6,500 Leg 1 TBD
Leg 2 Cape Town, South Africa November 15, 2008 Kochi, India 4,450 Leg 2 TBD
Leg 3 Kochi, India December 13, 2008 Singapore 1,950 Leg 3 TBD
IP Race Singapore January 10, 2008 - - IP Singapore TBD
Leg 4 Singapore January 18, 2009 Qingdao, China 2,500 Leg 4 TBD
IP Race Qingdao, China January 10, 2008 - - IP Qingdao TBD
Leg 5 Qingdao, China February 14, 2009 Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 12,300 Leg 5 TBD
IP Race Rio De Janeiro, Brazil January 10, 2008 - - IP Rio TBD
Leg 6 Rio De Janeiro, Brazil April 11, 2009 Boston, USA 4,900 Leg 6 TBD
IP Race Boston, USA May 9, 2009 - - IP Boston TBD
Leg 7 Boston, USA May 16, 2009 Galway, Republic of Ireland 2,550 Leg 7 TBD
IP Race Galway, Republic of Ireland January 10, 2008 - - IP Galway TBD
Leg 8 Galway, Republic of Ireland June 6, 2009 Gothenburg/Marstrand, Sweden 950 Leg 8 TBD
Leg 9 Gothenburg/Marstrand, Sweden June 14, 2009 Stockholm, Sweden 525 Leg 9 TBD
IP Race Stockholm, Sweden January 10, 2008 - - IP Stockholm TBD
Leg 10 Stockholm, Sweden June 25, 2009 St Petersburg, Russia (June 27, 2009) 370 Leg 10 TBD

2008-2009 Teams

Boat Sponsor Nat Sail # Designer Builder Skipper Website Points
(Ericsson 3)
Ericsson SWE 3 Juan Kouyoumdjian Killian Bushe (Kista, Stockholm) Anders Lewander 0.5
(Ericsson 4)
Ericsson SWE 4 Juan Kouyoumdjian Killian Bushe (Kista, Stockholm) Torben Grael 2.5
Il Mostro
Puma - Botin Carkeek Goetz Custom Boats (Bristol, Rhode Island)
& Customline Yachts
Ken Read 3.0
H.R.M. Elena
Telefonica ESP 12 Farr Yacht Design King Marine (Alginet, Valencia) Bouwe Bekking 4.0
H.R.M. Cristina
Telefonica ESP 11 Farr Yacht Design Southern Ocean Marine (Tauranga, New Zealand) Fernando Echavarri 3.5
WDCS RUS 1 Humphreys Yacht Design Green Marine (UK) Andreas Hanakamp 0.5
GREEN DRAGON (Green Team) - IRL 888 Reichel Pugh McConaghy Boats (China) Ian Walker 2.0
TEAM DELTA LLOYD Delta Lloyd NED 1 Juan Kouyoumdjian Killian Bushe (Lelystad, Netherlands) Ger O'Rourke 1.0

The 2008-2009 race will be tracked using a Race Management System developed by UK company Cybit's maritime division

The Boats

The Volvo Open 70 is the current class of racing yachts designed for the Volvo Ocean Race.

For more information, see article: Volvo Open 70

Previous Volvo Ocean Races/ Whitbread Round the World Races

Edition Winner Starters Start Finish No. of legs
2008- 09 TBD 8 Alicante, Spain St.Petersburg, Russia 10
2005- 06 ABN AMRO One 7 Vigo, Spain Gothenburg, Sweden 9
2001- 02 Illbruck Challenge 8 Southampton, England Kiel, Germany 10
1997- 98 EF Language 10 Southampton, England Southampton, England 9
1993- 94 NZ Endeavour 14 Southampton, England Southampton, England 6
1989- 90 Steinlager 2 Southampton, England Southampton, England 6
1985- 86 L'Esprit d'Equipe 15 Southampton, England Portsmouth, England 4
1981- 82 Flyer 29 Southampton, England Portsmouth, England 4
1977- 78 Flyer 15 Southampton, England Southampton, England 4
1973- 74 Sayula II 17 Portsmouth, England Portsmouth, England 4

Whitbread 1973 to 1974

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

Leg Start Finish Leg winnerSkipper
1 Portsmouth, England Cape Town, South Africa Great Britain IIChay Blyth
2 Cape Town, South Africa Sydney, Australia Pen Duick VI Éric Tabarly
3Sydney, AustraliaRio de Janeiro, BrazilGreat Britain IIChay Blyth
4Rio de Janeiro, BrazilPortsmouth, EnglandGreat Britain IIChay Blyth

The smaller Mexican yacht Sayula II, skippered by Ramon Carlin, won the overall race in a handicapped time of 133 days 13 hours; actual time was 152 days Taking handicapping into account, the Sayula would have won the second leg.

Whitbread 1977 to 1978

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

Leg Start Finish Leg winner
elapsed time
Leg winner
corrected time
1 Southampton, England Cape Town, South Africa FlyerFlyer
2 Cape Town, South Africa Auckland, New Zealand Heath's Condor33 Export
3Auckland, New ZealandRio de Janeiro, BrazilGreat Britain IIGauloise II
4Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSouthampton, EnglandHeath's CondorGauloise II

Flieer a Sparkman & Stephens designed yacht skippered by Cornelius van Rietschoten won the race. All 15 boats finished the 26,780 nautical mile (50,000 km) race.

Whitbread 1981 to 1982

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

Leg Start Finish Leg winner
elapsed time
Leg winner
corrected time
1 Southampton, England Cape Town, South Africa Flyer Kriter IX
2 Cape Town, South Africa Auckland, New Zealand Flyer Ceramco NZ
3Auckland, New ZealandMar del Plata, ArgentinaFlyerMor Bihan
4Mar del Plata, Argentina Portsmouth, EnglandFlyerCeramco NZ

Flyer, a German Frers designed maxi skippered by Cornelius van Rietschoten (a.k.a Conny van Rietschoten), winner of the 1977 to 1978 race, won the race. Unusually, Flyer won both on line honours AND on handicap. Only 20 finished the race out of the 29 that started it.

Whitbread 1985 to 1986

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

Leg Start FinishLeg winner
elapsed time
Leg winner
corrected time
1 Southampton, England Cape Town, South Africa UBS SwitzerlandL'Esprit d'Equipe
2 Cape Town, South Africa Auckland, New Zealand Atlantic PrivateerPhilips Innovator
3Auckland, New ZealandPunta del Este, UruguayUBS SwitzerlandL'Esprit d'Equipe
4Punta del Este, Uruguay Portsmouth, EnglandUBS SwitzerlandL'Esprit d'Equipe

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

Whitbread 1989 to 1990

1989 to 1990 Overall final standings
Pos Boat Nat Skipper LOA/DesAggregate
1 Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)84' Ketch128 d 9 h
2 Fisher & Paykel NZ Grant Dalton (NZ)82' Ketch129 d 21 h
3 Merit Pierre Fehlmann (F)80' Sloop130 d 10 h
4 Rothmans Lawrie Smith (GB)80' Sloop131 d 4 h
5 The Card Roger Nilson/Ann Lippens (S)80' Ketch135 d 7 h
18 Maiden Tracy Edwards (GB)58' Sloop167 d 3 h
21 La Poste Daniel Mallé (F)51' Sloop181 d 22 h

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

The boat Creighton's Naturally suffered a serious broach on leg 2, at about 3 in the morning. Crew members Anthony (Tony) Philips and Bart van den Dwey were swept over board. They were both pulled back on deck. Van den Dwey successfully resuscitated, but, after three hours of trying, crewmembers were unable to revive Philips. A few days later, by radio agreement with relatives ashore, Philips was buried at sea

1989 to 1990 Leg winners

Leg Start Finish Leg winnerSkipper
1 Southampton, England Punta del Este, Uruguay Steinlager 2 Peter Blake(NZ)
2 Punta del Este, Uruguay Fremantle, Australia Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
3Fremantle, AustraliaAuckland, New Zealand Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
4Auckland, New ZealandPunta del Este, UruguaySteinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
5Punta del Este, UruguayFort Lauderdale, USASteinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)
6Fort Lauderdale, USASouthampton, England Steinlager 2 Peter Blake (NZ)

Steinlager 2 skippered by Peter Blake won the race easily. For the first time since 1981 to 1982 (when the race comprised just four legs), the victor won every leg (albeit closely chased by both Grant Dalton's Fisher & Paykel NZ and Pierre Fehlmann's Merit entries). The vast difference in speed and capability of the many different boats involved in the 1989 to 1990 race lead to the creation of a committee to examine the commission of a Whitbread class boat for use in future races. Many of the Maxi yachts in this years race were nearly twice the size (LOA) of the smallest, and carried well over twice the sail area. The net result of this was that many of the smaller boats finished the longer legs more than ten days after the leg winner. In the overall results, the last finisher was some 52 days behind Blake's Steinlager 2 128 day aggregate time. In addition, the expense of the big yachts was getting to be too much - even for the well funded teams like Steinlager, Rothmans and Merit. Eventually, the new class would be called the W60 - but its gestation would not be quick or lack controversy.

Whitbread 1993 to 1994

The 1993 to 1994 Whitbread was run to "mixed class" rules (as with prior races). New for the 93/4 race was a purpose built Whitbread boat—the W60. As with previous years a handicap was applied to different boats based on their race rating. The competitors were none too keen or running both Maxis and W60's together. The two competing classes battled throughout with protest flags always at the ready. Many entrants wanted the old maxis banned for this year, however owing to concerns over whether enough new boats would be ready (not to mention the large investments the Maxi owners had made in previous years), several Maxis were allowed to compete in the 1993 to 1994 race. The W60 skippers almost unanimously insisted they were in a 'completely different boat race', to the fury of Grant Dalton skippering a maxi. Dalton conceded afterwards however that the race should only have one class in future, to avoid similar squabbles.

1993 to 1994 Final Standings

Pos Boat Nat Skipper ClassAggregate
1 NZ Endeavour Grant Dalton (NZ)Maxi120 d 5 h
2 Yamaha / Ross Field (NZ)W60120 d 14 h
3 Merit Cup Pierre Fehlmann (F)Maxi121 d 2 h
4 Intrum Justitia Europe Roger Nilson (S) / Lawrie Smith (GB)W60121 d 5 h
5 Galicia 93 Pescanova Javier de la Gandara (Esp)W60122 d 6 h
6 Winston Dennis Conner (USA) /Brad Butterworth (NZ)W60122 d 9 h
7 La Poste Éric Tabarly (F)Maxi123 d 22 h
8 Tokio Chris Dickson (NZ)W60128 d 16 h
9 Brooksfield Guido Maisto (I)W60130 d 4 h
10 Hetman Sahaidachny Eugene Platon (Ukr)W60135 d 23 h
11 Reebok/Dolphin Youth Mathew Humphries (GB)W60137 d 21 h
12 Heineken Dawn Riley (USA)W60138 d 16 h
13 Odessa Anatoly Verba (Ukr)W60158 d 4 h
NF Fortuna Lawrie Smith (GB)MaxiWD
Intrum Justitia was originally skippered by Roger Nilson, who was injured on the first leg.

  • Corrected time takes the boat's handicap into account

Leg Results:

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

Whitbread 1997 to 1998

Race run for the first time with all W60 boats and to a "points vs time" (instead of aggregate leg time) scoring system to enhance the value of the shorter race legs. Also, in an effort to attract additional media coverage, the Whitbread race committee divided the race into no less than 9 legs for the 1997 to 1998 race. Volvo had its first major association with the race in 1997 to 1998 by sponsoring the trophy (thus the race was officially known as the Whitbread 'round the world race for the Volvo Trophy) and some of the media coverage. For the first time running to W60-only specification, this year's Whitbread attracted just 10 entries—the fewest to date.

Overall results:

Pos Boat Nat Skipper Points
1 EF Language Paul Cayard (USA)836
2 Merit Cup Grant Dalton (NZ)698
3 Swedish Match Gunnar Krantz (S)689
4 Innovation Kvaerner Knut Frostad (N)633
5 Silk Cut Lawrie Smith (GBR)630
6 Chessie Racing George Collins / John Kostecki (USA)613
7 Toshiba Dennis Conner (USA) / Paul Standbridge (NZ)*528
8 Brunel Sunergy Hans Bouscholte / Roy Heiner (NL)415
9 EF Education Christine Guillou (F)275
dnf America's Challenge Ross Field (NZ)58

  • Toshiba was originally skippered by Chris Dickson. Dickson was fired after Leg 1. Hans Bouscholte was also replaced by Roy Heiner after leg 1. America's Challenge syndicate withdrew prior to the start of leg two for financial reasons.

Leg winners:

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

Volvo Ocean Race 2001 to 2002

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

2001 to 2002 overall final standings:

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

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

John Kostecki, who had co-skippered with George Collins on Chessie Racing in the 1997 to 1998 Whitbread to great effect, captained his first Volvo Ocean race winner in 2002. Assa Abloy's new composite mold technique proved very quick, but not quite quick enough, while long time Whitbread skipper Grant Dalton's two boat syndicate suffered badly from a lack of preparation time (the Amer boats were last in the water).

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

Volvo Ocean Race 2005 to 2006

The 2006-2006 race was the first to not begin in the United Kingdom. The course of 31,000 nautical miles (57,000 km) was divided into 9 legs, and would take over 8 months to complete. A new design of boat, the Volvo Open 70 was also used for the first time in this race. The new boats were 2m longer and about 1,000kg lighter than the VO 60s used in the previous race. They were also allowed to have more sail area and include the use of canting keels.

During Leg 7 of the race Hans Horrevoets, 32, of The Netherlands was swept overboard from ABN AMRO TWO. Although he was recovered from the water, attempts to resuscitate him were not successful. CPR was stopped at 0420GMT, 18 May 2006.

The crew of Movistar abandoned ship after the aft end of their keel pivot broke away from their hull in the night of the 20th May 2006, and transferred to ABN Amro Two which had been standing by and was escorted by HMS Mersey back to land. Although a search was carried out for the yacht, it is believed she sank due to the damage sustained.

The 2005/2006 race had tighter restrictions on the number of crewmembers allowed than previous races. An all-male crew was restricted to ten, while a crew with at least 5 women could have eleven members, and an all-female crew, (of which there were none in the race), could have twelve. The only woman who served as crew was Adrienne Cahalan of Brasil 1, who was replaced after the first leg. The skipper of each team may nominate one additional person for the in-port races.

2005 to 2006 Final Standings

Pos Boat Nat Designer Builder Skipper Points
1 ABN AMRO ONE Juan Kouyoumdjian Killian Bushe Mike Sanderson 96.0
2 Pirates of the Caribbean Bruce Farr Green Marine Paul Cayard 73.0
3 Brasil 1 Bruce Farr ML Boatworks Torben Grael 67.0
4 ABN AMRO TWO Juan Kouyoumdjian Killian Bushe Sebastien Josse 58.5
5 Ericsson Racing Team Bruce Farr Green Marine Neal MacDonald 55.0
6 movistar Bruce Farr Boatspeed Bouwe Bekking 48.0
7 Brunel Don Jones Hart Marine Grant Wharington 15.5

Leg/In Port Race Winners

Race Start Finish Nautical Miles Winner
In Port Race: Sanxenxo Sanxenxo (Galicia) on November 5, 2005 - - Ericsson Racing Team
Leg 1 Vigo, Galicia, Spain on November 12, 2005 Cape Town, South Africa 6,400 ABN AMRO ONE
In Port Race: Cape Town Cape Town, South Africa on December 26, 2005 - - ABN AMRO ONE
Leg 2 Cape Town, South Africa on January 2, 2006 Melbourne, Australia 6,100 ABN AMRO ONE
In Port Race: Melbourne Melbourne, Australia on February 4, 2006 - - ABN AMRO ONE
Leg 3 Melbourne, Australia on February 12, 2006 Wellington, New Zealand 1,450 movistar
Leg 4 Wellington, New Zealand on February 19, 2006 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 6,700 ABN AMRO ONE
In Port Race: Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on March 25, 2006 - - ABN AMRO ONE
Leg 5 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 2, 2006 Baltimore, Maryland, USA 5,000 ABN AMRO ONE
In Port Race: Baltimore Baltimore, USA on April 29, 2006 - - movistar
Leg 6 Baltimore, Maryland, USA on May 2, 2006 New York, NY, USA 400 ABN AMRO ONE
Leg 7 New York, NY, USA on May 11, 2006 Portsmouth, UK 3,200 ABN AMRO ONE
In Port Race: Portsmouth Portsmouth, UK on May 29, 2006 - - ABN AMRO ONE
Leg 8 Portsmouth, UK on June 2, 2006 Rotterdam, Netherlands 1,500 Brasil 1
In Port Race: Rotterdam Rotterdam, Netherlands on June 11, 2006 - - ABN AMRO ONE
Leg 9 Rotterdam, Netherlands on June 15, 2006 Gothenburg, Sweden 500 Pirates of the Caribbean

The points system used works on the number of boats entering the race. As 7 yachts entered, the winner of each leg was awarded 7 points, the second 6 points, and so on. For the in-port races, the points awarded were half that of a leg. (ie. the winner was awarded 3.5, second place 3 points, and so on). The in-port races accounted for approximately 20% of the overall points on offer.

‘Gates’ were also added to the 2005-2006 race, which were milestones along some of the longer legs which allowed teams to score additional points (using the same scoring system as the in-port races).


External links (Current Race)

External links (Previous Races)

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