One of the best ever: Hong Kong stopover to be part of longest Volvo Ocean Race route

The world’s premier round-the-world sailing event will stop in the city for the first time in February 2018 as part of the eight month, 45,000 nautical mile race

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2016, 7:41pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2016, 8:22pm

The next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, which will stop in Hong Kong in February 2018, will be the longest distance in race history, organisers have confirmed.

The 13th edition of the world’s premier round-the-world sailing event, which will take eight months to complete instead of the previous nine, is reckoned to be the toughest professional challenge in yachting and this time will cover a daunting 45,000 nautical miles and visit 11 cities, said chief executive Mark Turner.

The first leg will be from Alicante to Lisbon in October-November 2017, and then on to Cape Town, Guangzhou via Hong Kong, Auckland, Itajai in Brazil, Newport in the United States, Cardiff in Wales, Gothenburg, arriving finally in the Hague in June 2018.

“We believe this route is one of the best ever... we are taking the sailors to some of the most remote corners of the planet,” said Turner.

“Above all, we are taking the fleet deep into the Southern Ocean: the Roaring 40s, Furious 50s and maybe Screaming 60s,” he added, referring to latitude bands.

From the Portuguese capital Lisbon, the fleet will travel south towards Cape Town, South Africa, before an epic few weeks in the Southern Ocean and then back north across the equator to Hong Kong in what will be one of the longest legs in races history.

Volvo Ocean Race, world’s most prestigious sailing event, coming to Hong Kong for first time

After a non-scoring transition to Guangzhou in China, where an in-port race and full set of stopover activities will be held, the ocean racing will resume from Hong Kong to Auckland in New Zealand.

From there the boats will head back in to the northern hemisphere to the Eastern seaboard of the US and Newport, Rhode Island before heading across the North Atlantic for a transatlantic leg, which will see the fleet make a first return to British shores in 12 years.

They will arrive in Wales’ capital Cardiff in May 2018, before heading around the top of the British Isles on a short leg to the penultimate stopover in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The 2017-18 race will end with a grand finale into The Hague in the Netherlands.

Crews need to survive on a diet of freeze-dried food and a maximum of four hours’ sleep a day.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Briton Ian Walker, won the 12th edition of the event in June 2015 after covering 38,739 nautical miles in just under nine months.

Additional reporting by SCMP Staff Reporter