Please select your home edition
GJW Direct - Multi Dinghy Insurance

Spectacular Sunday on tap as crews ready for the start of the Volvo Ocean Race

by Volvo Ocean Race 21 Oct 2017 21:36 BST 22 October 2017
MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante © Pedro Martinez / Volvo Ocean Race

It's finally here – the official start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 takes place on Sunday afternoon at 14:00 local time in Alicante, Spain (12:00 UTC).

And after some short course racing off the beachfront of Alicante, the seven crews will depart on the first leg of a 45,000 nautical mile race around the world.

The race opens with a sprint (relatively speaking) from Alicante to Lisbon for Leg 1. It's going to be 1,450nm of flat out action, with the teams fighting for every inch as they aim to get some points on the board early on.

"After all the build-up, at last we are ready to race," said Xabi Fernández, the skipper of the hometown MAPFRE. "We are looking forward to getting into the rythym of the race."

Conditions at start time in Alicante (12:00 UTC), 14:00 local, are forecast to be moderate, with weather models suggesting Easterly winds of 7 to 15 knots. This is somewhat lighter than forecast earlier in the week. Nonetheless, the favourable direction means the fleet will make good progress off the starting line.

After 12 hours of racing, the fleet will be sailing fully downwind and should be gybing in towards Cabo de Gata to benefit from an acceleration and bend in the wind at the headland.

24 hours into the race and teams will be lining up for the Gibraltar Strait, the Rock of Gibraltar looming on the western horizon. As teams file into the narrow strait, wind strength could double from 14 to up to 30 knots, leading to frantic sail changes as teams negotiate accelerating wind, choppy waters and one of the world's busiest shipping channels all at the same time.

On Tuesday, 48 hours after the start, the sleigh ride comes to an end at the end of the acceleration zone and the fleet will be required to negotiate a ridge of high pressure, and its associated light winds, continuing onwards.

Where to from there? Race Director Phil Lawrence has reserved the right to lengthen the route with additional waypoints, if necessary, in order to secure an on-time arrival into Lisbon for the weekend.

Here's how to follow Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18:

  • Watch it on the website -- Head to to catch a live stream of the action.

  • Check out Facebook Live -- We'll be live at 1330 local time (1130 UTC).

  • Join us on our live blog -- We'll be blogging all the moves and news from the racetrack on our live blog, including the best of clips and social content, from 1200 local (1000 UTC). You can find it at

  • Make sure you follow us on Twitter -- We're at @volvoooceanrace... and we'll be live tweeting the action, as well as sharing the best content from the teams, stakeholders and fans on our feed.

  • Download the app -- It's all-new, full of great content and fits on your mobile phone. Why wouldn't you want the official Volvo Ocean Race app? Head to the App Store or Google Play to download it. It's called Volvo Ocean Race.

  • Come down to the Race Village -- Based along the seafront of Alicante, we've built the biggest Race Village site the city has ever seen – and it's jam packed full of interactive elements, innovative structures and loads of exciting things to do.

    Head to a vantage point -- Join the thousands of spectators on Postiguet Beach to see the boats in action, or line the sea wall for a front row seat. If you're feeling fit, why not hike up the castle for the best view in the city?

  • Play the Game -- Test yourself against the best 'virtual' sailors in the world. Play the Volvo Ocean Race Game.

Related Articles

Legends gather in Gothenburg for historic race
Boats from seven of the 13 round the world races set for Volvo Ocean Legends Race The overall winner will judged on corrected time, as it used to be in races gone by, but there will also be class racing for some of the more modern boats. Posted on 19 Jun
Ocean Summit sets royal standard for Ocean health
Progressive announcements to tackle the plastic crisis from the Swedish Government and Volvo Cars The first ever Gothenburg summit, attended by HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, saw progressive announcements to tackle the plastic crisis from the Swedish Government and Volvo Cars. Posted on 19 Jun
Tell us what you really think!
Penny for your thoughts, or what? As the Volvo Ocean Race gets ever closer to its end.... Penny for your thoughts, or what? As the Volvo Ocean Race gets ever closer to its end for this edition, some have chosen to stretch it out on some giant A-Frame and take to it like it was a free-for-all at the Hellfire club or something. Posted on 17 Jun
Vestas 11th Hour win Gothenburg In-Port Race
MAPFRE seal Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series overall Charlie Enright's Vestas 11th Hour Racing showed great patience and sailed a clean race for a victory in the Gothenburg In-Port Race on Sunday Posted on 17 Jun
Teams ready for action in Gothenburg In-Port Race
Gothenburg In-Port Race provides up close racing in second home of Volvo Ocean Race With the Volvo Ocean Race making its fourth visit to Gothenburg, race fans will be treated to spectacular racing on a course at the mouth of the Göta älv, the river that bisects the city. Posted on 16 Jun
A philosophical skipper David Witt talks Leg 10
Since leaving Auckland SHK Scallywag hasn't been able to score better than minimum points. Since leaving Auckland the Hong Kong flagged Volvo Ocean Race entry SHK Scallywag hasn't been able to score better than last place points. A philosophical skipper David Witt talks through Leg 10 on SHK Scallywag Posted on 16 Jun
Volvo OR: Finishing in the Midnight Sun
Video replay and images from the finish of Leg 10 of the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 10 of the Volvo Ocean Race had another close finish, with six of the seven boats finishing close together very late at "night" - but being so far north, it was still twilight. Here's the replay of the finish and images. Posted on 15 Jun
Top three teams in a dead heat
Volvo Ocean Race going down to the wire The final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race will determine the winner after the finish in Gothenburg leaves the top three teams in a dead heat... Posted on 15 Jun
Team Brunel win VOR Leg 10 over MAPFRE
Only two minutes separate the first and second place Team Brunel complete the Leg 10 comeback, to win the penultimate leg into Gothenburg, Sweden, setting up an epic final sprint to The Hague... Posted on 14 Jun
VOR Leg 10, Day 5: Brunel shoots into the lead
The pace is relentless as the leaders close in on Gothenburg knowing every point counts Bouwe Bekking's Team Brunel shot past most of the fleet over the past 24 hours, eventually eking ahead of MAPFRE on Thursday morning and taking the lead in Leg 10 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Posted on 14 Jun