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Dongfeng heroes in running for World Sailor of the Year gong


They finally got their hands on the Race trophy back in June – fulfilling a childhood dream – but 2018 could be about to get even better for Dongfeng's heroes Charles Caudrelier, Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou, who have all been nominated for the prestigious World Sailor of the Year prize.

© Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race

The trio, who wrapped up the Volvo Ocean Race victory with a last-gasp finish in The Hague, are joined by eight other world-class athletes on the shortlist, which features the best talent from across the sport of sailing.

It's not the first time that Brouwer has caught the attention of the wider sports world. She won the award back in 1998 as a 25-year-old whilst preparing for her first Olympic Games in Sydney, and now returns to the reckoning some two decades later as a Volvo Ocean Race winner.

© Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race

The Rolex World Sailor of the Year title is a prize that has long had strong roots in our Race – ever since the first award was won by Race legend Sir Peter Blake in 1994.

That Kiwi/Volvo Ocean Race connection has continued over the years, and Team Brunel's NZ star Pete Burling has scooped the trophy in two of the past three years, once with long-term sailing partner, MAPFRE's Blair Tuke.

Looking back to 2014, the award was won by team AkzoNobel's Martine Grael (and her 49erFX partner, Kahena Kunze) – following in the footsteps of her father, Volvo Ocean Race winner Torben Grael, who took the honours in 2009.

MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández stole the plaudits in 2011, when he and partner Iker Martínez grabbed the award, before turning their attentions to a 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race entry as MAPFRE.

Kiteboarders, offshore sailors and Olympic specialists are all in the running for the awards, which will be given to a male and a female winner at the World Sailing Awards Ceremony in Florida, USA on 30 October.

© Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race

The Awards night is part of the World Sailing Annual Conference, where other prizes including the 11th Hour Racing Sustainability, Team of the Year and Boat of the Year will be given out.

The full shortlist for the awards is as follows:

Caterina Banti (ITA) – 2018 Nacra 17 World Champion
Carolijn Brouwer (NED) / Marie Riou (FRA) – Volvo Ocean Race winners
Daniela Moroz (USA) – 2018 Formula Kiteboarding World Champion
Wendy Tuck (AUS) – Clipper Round the World Race winning skipper

Charles Caudrelier (FRA) – Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper
Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO) – 2018 49er World Champions
Pavlos Kontides (CYP) – 2018 Laser World Champion
Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) – 2018 Men’s RS:X World Champion
Ruggero Tita (ITA) – 2018 Nacra 17 World Champion

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More technology, more diversity, more sustainability…


The next edition of the race, scheduled to start in 2021, will include two dynamic classes of boats, more women racing than ever before, and a youth challenge trophy.

© Austin Wong / Volvo Ocean Race

Initial details have just been released with the Preliminary Notice of Race now available to prospective teams, outlining the general rules of the next event.

Following the release of the preliminary document, race organisers will continue to consult with key stakeholders over the coming weeks before opening for entries for the next race on December 11, 2018.

Two classes will compete in the 2021 event; the high-performance, foiling, IMOCA 60 class and the one-design VO65 class which produced such close, compelling racing in the last two editions of the race.

Entries in the IMOCA 60 class are competing for the overall race title while crews racing the VO65s will chase the first ever Youth Challenge Trophy, as a majority of the 10 sailors on the boat will need to be under 30 years of age, with a minimum of three sailors under the age of 26.

© James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

Every team in the race, in both IMOCA and VO65 classes, will be required to have female sailors on board through various crew configuration options.

“These rules will ensure opportunities for the best athletes in the sport of sailing to take part in our event,” said Richard Brisius, the President of the race organising body. “At the same time, we are opening a wider door for sailors to compete in one of our sport’s pinnacle events earlier in life through the Youth Challenge Trophy.


“We are also committed to further developing the ground-breaking sustainability programme launched in the last edition of the race. Sustainability guidelines will be issued to all teams, stopover cities and stakeholders as we build on the strong foundation laid over the past several years.”

The switch to the foiling IMOCA 60 class adds a high-performance and design aspect to the race after the last two editions of one-design racing, where all boats were identical. This shift means the teams will be pushing the envelope of technology with boats that foil above the water at extremely high speeds.

© Volvo Ocean Race

“Historically, design and performance breakthroughs have been an important component of success in this race since 1973,” said co-President Johan Salén. “The IMOCA 60 class is at the cutting edge of technology for offshore monohulls and the sailors and designers will be chasing every technical advantage they can find.”

As the race evolves to its next iteration its power to inspire is as great as ever.

“Our sport is unique as our athletes compete not just against each other but the race takes our crews to some of the most remote places in the world,” Brisius noted. “Our sailors place their competitive pride on their line and form life-long bonds through the experiences they share and the challenges they meet together. The athletes in our sport have a determination and belief in each other that transcends sport and speaks to all of us.”

Getting that story off the boat and to the race fans will once again fall to the role of the on board reporter, who will be on each boat, tasked with bringing the story home in video, photos, audio and text.

The release of the first version of the Preliminary Notice of Race is another step in defining the 2021 edition of the race. Consultation with key stakeholders is welcomed before opening for entries in December.

“This marks the first of many steps in our new journey to create a great opportunity for our IMOCA sailors. We look forward to continuing our work with the race organisers to build a fantastic event,” said Antoine Mermod, the President of IMOCA.

Over the coming weeks and months, more information will be released, including details on the race route, the IMOCA class rule for fully crewed races, and new sustainability initiatives that build on the award-winning programme introduced in the last race.

The Preliminary Notice of Race is available on request by emailing: 

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‘It’s a great opportunity’


Ahead of the start of the 2018 Route du Rhum, we headed to Lorient, France to catch up with Volvo Ocean Race winner Jérémie Beyou. Having finished third in the 2016 Vendée Globe, he knows the IMOCA class well – and gives his insight into the new boats which will content the 2021 race.

Hi Jérémie. Talk us through this new IMOCA boat, and how it varies to your experience on the Volvo Ocean 65.

Yes, these boats are quite different compared to the Volvo Ocean 65. It’s a different way of sailing, and I think you sail more like you’re on a multihull compared to a mono. You have to be able to manage it – you don’t have to push hard all the time, you have to take care of the boat and watch the data and loads on the boat. Those of us who sail in the IMOCA class regularly understand this, so maybe we can do the next Race as a crew. After developing these boats, we know the rules very well, so I can imagine collaboration between teams who are already sailing in this class ahead of the next Race.

You just won the Volvo Ocean Race as part of a mixed Dongfeng crew – how would a fully-crewed setup work on these boats?

Sailing with five people on these boats is really nice. We do it sometimes, during deliveries and small races. It’s a good size and because it's so difficult to sail the boat alone, having five people onboard means you can push the boat to its limits and focus 100% on performance all the time, which you can’t really do on your own. But it also means when you’re sailing five rather than nine or 10 in a usual Volvo Ocean Race boat, all the sailors onboard must be multi-skilled. It’s key that the same person can be a trimmer, a driver, a bowman, and be able to do the strategy, so it’s like sailing with five solo sailors onboard rather than a traditional crew.

© Austin Wong

How much conversion would need to be done to make this boat capable of racing with a full crew onboard?

I think it's mainly a question of living onboard. The inside of the boat would need to be adapted for five people. That’s the bunks and kitchen, for a start. And of course the cockpit too. We really designed Charal for solo sailing, so the cockpit would need to be very different. After that, the big difference will be on the hull design and the foil design, depending on the course of the race. If it’s the same stopovers as in 2017-18, then you have a lot of time upwind, a lot of light wind spots. Charal is a boat designed for the Vendée Globe, which is broad reaching and downwind in strong winds only, so it’s not currently an ideal design for the next Race. I think that seven boats in the next Race isn’t enough, we need between 10 and 15 boats to have the perfect number – so if every team can’t build a new boat, it’d be interesting to have some boats coming over from the Vendée.

© Austin Wong

Do you think that the collaboration between the Race and IMOCA is a positive move for the sport, and sponsorship?

Yes. In my case, Charal is a very French company, so right now doesn’t have a lot of interest in international markets and round-the-world racing, but our team, Charal Sailing, definitely has an interest in that. I do think the IMOCA class needs more international sailors. We have Alex Thomson who is the only non-French guy who is realistically able to win the Vendée Globe, but as well as Alex, we need a Stu Bannatyne, Daryl Wislang, and other new guys from the US. I think the connection between the two races is positive and will help develop the market for IMOCA, and it’s a great opportunity.

The 2018 Route du Rhum begins on 4 November 2018. You can follow the action here.

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Sustainability programme wins awards


At the prestigious international Beyond Sport Awards, in New York, the programme won in ‘The Best Corporate Campaign or Initiative in Sport for Good’ category.

The judges commended the programme for its ‘fantastic use of a global platform to spread an important message around the danger of plastic pollution’. They also commented on how the campaign encouraged young people to become climate activists and used robust scientific research.

Working to promote the UN Clean Seas campaign and through a range of communication channels the message reached millions of people during stopovers and many more through media and online platforms.

© Brian Carlin/Volvo Ocean Race

Meanwhile, in Boston, the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected the race’s Newport Stopover Team to receive an Environmental Merit Award in recognition of the race’s exceptional work and commitment to the environment.

Anne-Cecile Turner, Sustainability Programme Leader, said: “We set out with the ambition to engender positive behaviour change to tackle the plastic crisis affecting our oceans. As a global sporting event we have minimised our own footprint and educated and empowered the millions of people the race touched.

“By working with a range of supportive and inspirational partners we were able to realise our ambitions and leave a lasting legacy for ocean health and are thrilled this has been recognised by Beyond Sport and the EPA.

"We will continue to lead, inspire and engage through an even stronger programme, combining sailing and innovation platforms to create real and tangible impacts for ocean preservation.” 

The programme saw the race work in partnership with Founding Principal Sustainability Partner 11th Hour Racing, Principal Partner the Mirpuri Foundation and the UN Environment’s #CleanSeas campaign.

Todd McGuire, 11th Hour Racing Program Director, commented: "Being shortlisted for the Beyond Sport Awards is an incredible recognition and honour. We wish to congratulate Volvo Ocean Race for their outstanding work and for successfully implementing such a powerful campaign to promote positive change. We believe in the power of sport, and much like brands have used sport to market their products, we see this arena as a unique opportunity to gather large crowds around environmental issues.”

Working with our other main partners, Volvo, AkzoNobel, Bluewater, Stena Recycling and Ocean Family Foundation, the programme aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“The Volvo Ocean Race enabled us to showcase in real-life at each Volvo Ocean Race stopover how Bluewater is already today turning words into action to deliver sustainable drinking water to people and businesses in heartily populated urban environments regardless of the quality of the water source," said Anders Jacobson, President and chief strategy officer at Bluewater.

© Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Power Sport Images

To advance science by combining it with sailing, an expert scientific consortium, funded by Volvo Cars, used cutting edge technology to build state of the art equipment that would capture the most relevant ocean data.

Stuart Templar, Vice President, Internal Communications & Sustainability, Volvo Cars, said: “Volvo Cars is delighted that the Volvo Ocean Race Science Programme has been recognised by the Beyond Sports Awards.  We’re proud to have supported the Programme and help promote understanding, awareness and action on the global problem of marine plastic pollution.

“It’s also encouraged us to make strong commitments including removing single use plastic from our restaurants, events and offices, as well as aiming to ensure that from 2025 at least 25% of the plastic in newly launched Volvo will contain recycled material.  The Volvo Ocean Race has set the standard for other major sporting events to follow in terms of practicing and promoting sustainability. We look forward to supporting the further development of the Sustainability Programme.”

The Turn the Tide on Plastic boat, supported by Sky Ocean Rescue, alongside Team AkzoNobel’s boat, collected seawater samples that were tested by race scientists for microplastics as well as levels of salinity, dissolved CO2 and algae. The findings were uploaded ‘open source’ to benefit scientific understanding of the plastic threat.

Convening a series of Ocean Summits and workshops, at key host cities, the problems linked to our seas were discussed by key influencers, such as politicians, scientists and business leaders, and innovative solutions proposed to shift current thinking and drive action.

Paulo Mirpuri, President and Founder of the Mirpuri Foundation, said: “We are extremely proud of the great work developed by our team over the last 12 month and its huge impact to tackle the horrific plastic problem that is challenging our oceans.  The Beyond Sport Award honours both the Volvo Ocean Race and the Mirpuri Foundation sustainability teams.”

Lisa Emelia Svensson, Director for Ocean, at the UN Environment, added: "This award shows what we can achieve together. Sport is an fantastic way to engage people all over the work across sectors, culture and genders.

"We will build on this achievement and continue with our innovative partnership to drive action and real change."

The annual Merit Award, presented in Boston, recognises outstanding environmental advocates who have made significant contributions toward preserving and protecting our natural resources. 

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45 years – what a ride it’s been


What a ride it’s been.

© Barry Pickthall/PPL

Today marks 45 years since the first edition of the race, which saw 17 boats and 167 sailors take the start line off the maritime city of Portsmouth, on the south coast of the UK.

Those first races were co-organised by the Whitbread brewing company and the Royal Naval Sailing Association, and called the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.

The inaugural race was won by skipper Ramón Carlin and his crew on the Mexican entry Sayula II, a brand new Swan 65, which completed the course in a corrected time of 133 days and 13 hours. The first race started and finished in Portsmouth and had three stopovers: Cape Town, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro.

© Bob Fisher /PPL

Those early races took place every four years and if the first edition appealed to those with an adventurous spirit, it wasn’t long before the sport became more and more competitive and the race would quickly be seen as the ultimate test of seamanship, skill and teamwork.

By the time Volvo took over ownership of the race in 2001, legends like Conny van Rietschoten (the only skipper to win the race twice), Peter Blake, Grant Dalton and Paul Cayard were being celebrated for leading teams to victory in the ‘Everest of Sailing’.

Although technology would continuously make the boats faster over the years, they were no less difficult to sail. Quite the opposite, in fact. The demands and deprivations imposed on the crews remain to this day unlike that in any other sport.

And while better communication tools allows us more immediate insight into life on board, the experience of the race remains unique to those who take on the challenge.

New legends like Torben Grael, Franck Cammas, Ian Walker and most recently Charles Caudrelier, have seen their names added to the pantheon as winning skippers over the past few editions.

© Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Looking forward, the race is once again entering a new era. After 45 years, new ownership will bring innovation while respecting the great heritage of the race.

The next edition, starting from Alicante in 2021, will see the challenge take place on incredible IMOCA 60 boats – foiling monohulls that begin to lift out of the water at speed.

Racing these boats through the Southern Ocean promises to test the sailors as never before.

But as in the previous 13 editions, the challenge of the competition, of battling against the fiercest conditions nature can offer, and the camaraderie of the crews who take to the seas, will ensure the next race is of a kind with those from the past.

How the world looked in September 1973
UK Number One single: Young Love - Donny Osmond
US Number One single: Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye
Highest grossing movie of the year: The Exorcist
Arnold Schwarzenegger wins the Mr Olympia bodybuilding competition
The Rolling Stones play two shows at Wembley Stadium

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