World's toughest yacht race sets off from Alicante

World’s toughest yacht race sets off from Alicante

Waves taller than buildings, icebergs, freezing nights and scorching hot days are just some of the challenges facing the teams taking part in the 2014 Volvo Ocean Race.

World’s toughest yacht race sets off from Alicante

World’s toughest yacht race sets off from Alicante

For the third time, the toughest yacht race in the world starts in the beautiful city o f Alicante. A special Volvo Ocean Race village has been set up where thousands of visitors have seen the boats on practice runs and have the chance to experience the adrenaline rush of the challenge for themselves.

This year’s race, which starts on October 11, is going to be the longest in history over 39,379 nautical miles – nearly 73,000kms – across four oceans and five continents. From Alicante, they head to Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajai (Brazil), Newport (USA), Lisbon (Portugal), Lorient (France) and end up in Gothenburg (Sweden).

Each crew has nine members – eight sailors and a multimedia reporter. They race 24 hours a day and can be at sea for up to 20 days eating dried food while pounding their way to the next leg of the race. The all-women’s team is made up of 11 people.

The Volvo Ocean Race is arguably the longest, most demanding and most dangerous sporting event in the world.

The race, formerly known as the Whitbread round the world race, was born in 1973 but was renamed the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001.

It follows in the footsteps of British adventurer Sir Francis Chichester, who was the first person to sail single-handed around the world by the clipper route, and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who was the first person to sail single handed and non-stop around the world. This led to talk of a round-the-world race
Seven teams are taking part in this year’s event. Team SCA, an all-female crew from Sweden; Team Mapfre from Spain led by Iker Martinez; Team Dongfeng (which means eastern wind) from China; Team Abu Dhabi led by Great British skipper and Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker; Team Brunel; Team Alvimedica from America; and Team Vestas Wind from Denmark.

This year, they will all be competing in the same type of racing boat, the Volvo Ocean 65 from Farr Yacht Design. This makes the race all the more exciting as they cannot blame or praise the boat for their progress. It’s all down to the crews.

Alicante is also home to the Volvo Ocean Race Museum, also in the marina, where you can find out about the race’s history, competitors and route as well as find out about marine ecosystems and try out hands-on simulators to get a feel of what it is like to compete in this prestigious race.

 While in Alicante, you can explore the Santa Barbara Castle, museums, art galleries, restaurants and shops. 


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