This happens once every three years and during the nine months of the 2011–12 Volvo Ocean Race, which started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concludes in Galway, Ireland, in early July 2012, the teams are scheduled to sail over 39,000 nmi (72,000 km) of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi,Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient.
The race is contested by 11-strong crews of professional sailors, who will experience temperatures ranging from -15 to +40 degrees Celsius over the course of the race. They will trust their lives to the boat skipper and experience hunger and severe sleep deprivation on legs lasting as long as 22 days. No fresh produce is taken on board during the race, meaning the teams will survive on freeze-dried food.
The original course was designed to follow the route of the square riggers, which had carried cargo around the world during the 19th Century.
From 2001 the ownership 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.
Winning the race does not attract a cash prize, as the feat of competing is presented as sufficient reward, however Waterford Crystal trophies are awarded to the winners of each leg and the race overall.
No cash prize? and these teams are out there running for 9 months! You can be sure that each team is being paid and how about competition between teams? Side beats anyone? Then there’s the party in Rio De Janeiro that’s compensation and a morale booster to make it to Boston. Come on lets face it, party in every port team family members are there it’s a Big Money Game with large sponsorship but the fact of the matter is these teams are the best sailors on the planet. Because that leg from Qingdao China to Rio is a Ball Buster 20 to 22 days!
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).
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