“Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone”
A Mantra held by the competitors of The Volvo Ocean Race.
The start of the world famous Volvo Ocean Race has set sail from Alicante on no less than four occasions since 2008 and is to see the start of this epic race again in 2020/21.
A yacht race held every three or four years since 1973 originally named the Whitbread Round the World Race from its British Brewing Company sponsor.
However, long before this event became possible there took place two important miracles of modern construction, representing two of the greatest maritime shortcuts in history.
1869 the opening of the Suez Canal and subsequently in 1914 the Panama Canal.
Sailors would no longer be required to attempt to navigate the Southern Ocean to reach destinations between Asia, Australia, Africa the Americas and Europe.
It gave mariners a slightly better life but there were still those fully focused on finding adventure. One of those was the English sailor Sir William Robert Patrick “Robin” Knox Johnston.
Knox Johnston became the first man to circumnavigate the globe single-handed and non- stop in 1969 he won the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Exhilarated by this event he convinced two sailing journalists of the potential of ‘an around the world yacht race’.
Between them they hatched a plan to return back to these challenging routes before the Suez and Panama shortcuts - but this time in the name of sport.
45 years of the world’s toughest sailing competition.
Since 2008 Alicante has been the Start Port for the event and is set to receive the honour for the 2020/21 event. In 2012 the Ocean Race museum was opened, an interactive exhibition which aims to share the rich heritage of the race as well as the technological innovation and human effort that this challenge demands. It includes real time monitoring and tracking of the boats during the race with Race Control. You can even climb aboard one of these amazing craft and experience what it feels like to be a member of the crew first hand.
This interactive exhibition showcases 45 years of the world’s toughest sailing competition.
It is the only museum in the world dedicated to this event.
Since December 2015 one of the Ocean Race vessels has been located in the Puerta de Mar Square a place of privilege in the maritime zone of Alicante.
The message on the hull says Turn the Tide on Plastic, which gave name to one of the entries in the 2017-18 edition and is linked to the #CleanSeas UN programme.
The next edition of this epic saga is scheduled to start from Alicante in October 2021 and will visit 10 international cities with a Grand Finale finish in the port of Genoa, Italy in the summer of 2022.
38,000 nautical miles.
A more compact route at 38,000 nautical miles and with two less stopovers it does include two significant Southern Ocean legs where crews will get the opportunity to add their stories to this legendary race.
The heritage of this event that crosses the world’s oceans is reflected in the new route, leaving Alicante and heading to the great capes of the southern hemisphere to port and diving into the Southern Ocean on the approach to the iconic Cape Horn.
The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the most global events in sport and the race course for 2021/22 underlines why it is so special.
Building on the legacy, the race will feature a series of summits with an expanded version of its award winning learning curriculum for schools combined with a robust science and data programme. In addition all race teams will be required to use renewable sources to generate a proportion of the energy on board.
In January this year at the meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland The Volvo Ocean Race took centre stage. The outcome being that at the gathering of the world economic leaders discussions were held regarding pathways towards a sustainable future.
The Ocean Race Chairman Richard Brisius spoke passionately about protecting our oceans and the power of sport to make a positive impact on society.
Brisius as part of a discussion panel on ocean health described his own personal journey from sailor to custodian of the event – and how the Race is “racing for a purpose”.
2020 will see the decade of Ocean Science Brisius added the race has to be ran as a business
for its longevity “but we don't do it for revenue. We do it for the planet”
The Ocean Race is the greatest sailing event in the world, by far, and through its values it carries a great mission for sustainability and making a positive impact on the world.