The start of the 14th edition of The Ocean Race, early in the new year, follows the Reyes holiday in Spain. The two racing fleets (the foiling IMOCAs and the one-design VO65s) will set off in separate divisions for a 32,000 nautical mile (60,000 km) race around the world.
The first leg is a 1900 nautical mile sprint from Alicante to Cabo Verde, the first time the race has stopped at the African archipelago. In the past, the fleets sailed past the islands on their way to the South Atlantic. In Cabo Verde, The Ocean Race will participate in the famous Ocean Week, focusing on local and international sustainability issues.
Leg 2 starts on 25 January and the fleets will race south across the equator to Cape Town, the 12th time the race has stopped at the southern tip of Africa, making it the most visited stopover in this edition of the event. This will also be the first of three ‘haul-out’ stops, where the boats are taken out of the water for maintenance.
This will be followed by a record-breaking leg – the longest race distance in the event’s 50-year history – a 12,750 nautical mile, one-month marathon to Itajaí, Brazil.
In the best tradition of The Ocean Race, this leg takes IMOCA and VO65 sailors to the Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties of the Southern Ocean. Antarctica is on the right and the fleet will have to pass all three major southern capes – Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn – without stopping for the first time in port.
This epic southern leg will be followed by a long stopover in Itajaí, Brazil, before the race resumes north, through the doldrums, across the equator and to Newport, Rhode Island, on the east coast of the United States.
From there, the race returns to Europe, with a transatlantic leg to Aarhus, Denmark, followed by a fly-by from Kiel, Germany, en route to a stop in The Hague, Netherlands.
Then there is the final offshore leg – the Grand Finale – to Genoa, Italy, for a Mediterranean finish to the race.