North Sails NEWS

May 17, 2018

KEN READ’S LEG 9 PREVIEW

Don’t Underestimate the Homestretch of the Volvo Ocean Race

If you think the hard miles are behind the Volvo Ocean Race, you’re dreadfully mistaken. This race is not over, and the final legs of this race can be brutal. My first long Volvo leg was transatlantic with Ericsson in the 2005-06 edition. During that race, we saw Movistar sink and then be rescued by ABN AMRO who were dealing with a loss of life onboard. The fleet was up against three vicious storms which stacked up one after the other. I am not trying to spook the herd, but do not underestimate the Atlantic Ocean this time of year.

President of North Sails & Volvo Ocean Race veteran Ken Read, skipper of PUMA Ocean Racing in the 2011-12 edition © Amory Ross

All the teams are acutely aware that this is not the Caribbean and this leg is notoriously cold, nasty and less than ideal sailing conditions. There are several shorter legs once they touch down in Europe and plenty of opportunity for movement on the leaderboard. I believe 30% of the points are still at play in the three remaining legs. Race leaders Mapfre with skipper Xabi Fernandez know they have a race on and are anything but confident at this point; this is what makes it fun for all us spectators at home.

I was sailing with second place Dongfeng on Wednesday, and they are chomping at the bit to get offshore. And the same is true for third place Brunel who keep improving and are within range to keep this race interesting.

The final few weeks of the Volvo Ocean Race are a fascinating finale to this fantastic race. And the 2017-2018 edition has been filled with its fair share of excitement as well as tragedy. I wouldn’t say the sailors are refreshed after their North American stopover, but they are for sure excited to get back out there.

MAPFRE © Volvo Ocean Race
Brunel © Volvo Ocean Race
Dongfeng Race Team © Volvo Ocean Race