High-pressure ocean racing and life-or-death drama are no strangers to the Volvo Ocean Race and the current 2014-15 edition is proving to be no exception. The one-design boats (see Volvo Ocean 65: the world’s toughest one-design) have certainly proved themselves both in terms of reliability and competitiveness – a welcome improvement over recent editions.
Also noticeable, is the deluge of fabulous photographs coming from the onboard reporters and the rare instances when the boats are closer to shore. We’ve picked out just 10 of the best images from the race so far (see more at Volvo Ocean Race Instagram page) that go some way to telling the story of this edition of the event… of course there’s plenty more to go but we couldn’t resist sharing these cracking photographs.
LEG 1: October 27, 2014. Knowing where you are going is half the battle. Skipper Ian Walker with navigator Simon Fisher at the navigation station aboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Photo by Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.
LEG 2: November 19, 2014. One of the most impressive ports on the Volvo Ocean Race route, Mapfre leaves Cape Town in the late evening sun. Photo by María Muiña/Mapfre.
Team Alvimedica at the start of leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi. Charlie Enright putting the pedal to the metal. Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget/Team Alvimedica.
LEG 2: November 19, 2014. Barely visible through the spray the all female Team SCA battle upwind against a rough sea on their way to Abu Dhabi. Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget/Sea and Co.
LEG 2: November 19, 2014. Onboard Reporter Yann Riou captures the moment Pascal Bidegorry gets a hosing on the coffee grinders aboard Dongfeng Race Team. Photo by Yann Riou/Dongfeng Race Team/Volvo Ocean Race.
LEG 2: November 30, 2014. Things don’t always go to plan. Onboard reporter Brian Carlin shows us the scary grounding of Team Vestas Wind on the Cargados Carajos Shoals near Mauritius. The crews prepare thoroughly for this sort of situation and it is testament to this that they were all uninjured. Photo by Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind/Volvo Ocean Race.
LEG 2: December 5, 2014. Onboard with Team Alvimedica as it heads towards Abu Dhabi using up the last of the good sailing conditions before things turn light and shifty. Photo by Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica/Volvo Ocean Race.
LEG 2: December 13, 2014. Team Brunel arrive in the turquoise waters of Abu Dhabi to take first place. Photo by Ainhoa Sánchez/Volvo Ocean Race.
LEG 3: January 3, 2015. Having one design boats for this edition of the race means the racing has been very close. Antonio Cuervas-Mon of Mapfre is on the bow in very light winds leaving Abu Dhabi for Sanya in China while Team SCA (ahead) try and open up the gap. Photo by Francisco Vignale/Mapfre/Volvo Ocean Race.
February 27, 2015. Leg 4, Day 24: Amory Ross – onboard reporter for team Alvimedica and producer of some of the best phtoography of the Volvo Ocean Race so far, takes a selfie. The full-time embedded media members on each crew have made a huge difference to the profile of the race.
So there you have it, 10 amazing photographs. It was hard to pick out just 10, and there’s still plenty of racing to go as the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race doesn’t finish until the end of June. The boats arrived in Aukland New Zealand at the beginning of March, from where they race to Itajai in Brazil, Newport in the USA, Lisbon in Portugal, Lorient in France, followed by a 24-hour pitstop at The Hague in The Netherlands before the finish in Gothenberg, Sweden.
Team Vestas Wind hopes to rejoin the race in June… it remains to be seen if they can rebuild their reef-battered boat in time to enjoy much of the race before the finish, but it will be an impressive achievement if they do. Read some analysis of the shift in power in the race in Rupert Holmes' piece Risk taking in the Volvo Ocean Race.