Volvo Ocean Race 20117-2018 Starting Soon, Future Races Uncertain

Photo: Francisco Vignale/MAPFRE/Volvo Ocean Race

Seven boats will be setting off on the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race in 16 days. The race will start in Alicante on October 22, 2017 and finish in The Hague in June 2018, visiting 12 stopover ports– Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, The Hague — on a route extending for 45,000 nautical miles. The seven teams will each be racing Volvo Ocean 65s.

While the teams for the 20117-2018 races are making final preparations, the Volvo Ocean Race organization has announced a delay in the 2019-20120 race. The race organizers say that additional planning time is required before further announcements can take place. In addition, Mark Turner, the CEO of Volvo Ocean Race, has stepped down, and a replacement is being sought.

In May, the Volvo Ocean Race committee announced that their 2019-20 race would be sailed in 60′ foil-assisted monohulls. The announced delay has also put the development of the prototype design on hold as well.

There is some speculation that Mark Turner’s resignation was due to the Volvo board’s unwillingness to fund some of his initiatives including the new foiling monohulls. 

Yachting World reports:  It appears the Volvo Ocean Race board’s plan to shelve the proposals it had previously agreed is what’s behind Turner’s resignation. The timing could hardly be worse, just as the next race gets underway, and it raises serious questions about the future of the race as the foremost ocean and round the world sailing event. 

What is behind this about-turn?

Money, say insiders. The word on the dockside is that the race organization would not sign the contract for the tooling for the new 60-foot design. “He couldn’t get the cheque. They got nervous. Some of the deals for this race haven’t gone across the table,” says a source.

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