Volvo Ocean Race as economic bellwether
ALICANTE – Spot the odd one out: Balance of payments. Productivity. GDP. Volvo Ocean Race. Right! The latter offers the most accurate snapshot of global economic health. Take the route of the VOR 2014-15. It will visit 10 cities in 9 nations: Spain, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, the US, Portugal, France and Sweden. Significantly, it makes 2 stops in Brazil, the darling of the newly emerging economies. But, hey wait, where are the teams?
Economic wisdom has it that the 40,000nm endurance race follows sponsor funds to the healthiest consumer markets. That means Asia, the Mideast and Latin America and cities that were on no one’s lips 20 years ago. The 2014-15 VOR starts Oct. 4, 2014 in this Spanish port and finishes June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden. It’s a whole new race with competitors sailing in identical 65-ft racers to prevent costly duplication in design and engineering. There are other new elements and they make for a thriller event, says VOR CEO Knut Frostad.
The next VOR faces heavy-duty ocean sailing early on. The 3rd leg goes from Recife, Brazil, around Africa, into the Indian Ocean to Abu Dhabi _ close to 10,000nm. Frostad: “This route has never really been part of any ocean race any time before. And when you have that element there’s a new strategy, there’s a new route, there’s new weather, there’s new challenges for the sailors. No-one can claim they’ve done this before.”
The one-design yacht concept, introduced in June, 2012, opens the door wider for would-be participants by curbing production and development costs. This has already seen the unveiling of an all-female team _ for the first time since 2001-02 _ from Sweden. That’s all for now. Organizers say it’s early days still and confident more teams will be formed later this year. There have been noises _ but no details _ about an entry from the Netherlands, the most successful VOR nation ever but that was sadly absent from the last VOR. The VOR 2014-15 route:
Alicante, Spain – start of leg 1: In-Port Race: Oct. 4, 2014. Leg Start: Oct. 11. 3,421nm to Recife
Recife, Brazil – start of leg 2: In-Port Race: Nov. 8, 2014. Leg Start: Nov. 9. 9,707 nm to Abu Dhabi:
Abu Dhabi, UAE – start of leg 3: In-Port Race: Jan. 2, 2015. Leg Start: Jan. 3. 4,670nm to Sanya
Sanya, China – start of leg 4: In-Port Race: Feb. 7, 2015. Leg Start: Feb. 8. 5,264nm to Auckland
Auckland, N. Zealand – start of leg 5: In-Port Race: Mar 14, 2015. Leg Start: Mar 15. 6,776nm to Itajaí
Itajaí, Brazil – start of leg 6: In-Port Race: Apr. 18, 2015. Leg Start: Apr. 19. 5,010nm to Newport
Newport, RI, USA – start of leg 7: In-Port Race: May 16, 2015. Leg Start: May 17. 2,800nm to Lisbon
Lisbon, Portugal – start of leg 8: In-Port Race: Jun. 6, 2015. Leg Start: Jun. 7. 647nm to Lorient
Lorient, France – start of leg 9: In-Port Race: TBA. Leg Start: TBA. 1,600nm to Gothenburg
Gothenburg, Sweden: In-Port Race: June 27, 2015