Volvo Countdown has begun - Start is 11 October

Ericsson Racing Team Volvo Ocean Race Qualifier
Ericsson Racing Team ©

The countdown to the start of the 10th running of the Volvo Ocean Race, formerly The Whitbread Round the World Race has begun. In one month, on 11 October, eight of the most advanced racing yachts in the world will depart from Alicante in Spain for Cape Town, South Africa on the first leg of this global competition.

The top sailors in the world are preparing to spend the better part of nine months at sea, with short stopovers in 11 ports across Africa, Asia, North and South America and Europe before the finish in June 2009 in St Petersburg, Russia.

Along the way they’ll encounter mountainous seas and hurricane force winds in the ultimate test of man and machine. Sleep deprivation, biting cold, horrendous heat, and the constant pounding of the waves mean any kind of creature comfort is only a dream. Stress and adrenalin levels are sky-high; this is Life at the Extreme.

The fleet is beginning to assemble in the Spanish start port of Alicante. One week prior to the start, on 4 October, the boats will be raced in anger for the first time in the Alicante in-port race. The countdown is on.

All racing yachts are required by the rules to be in the start port of Alicante 21 days before the start of the first in-port race on 4 October 2008.

There are now eight entries in the Volvo Ocean Race.

DELTA LLOYD NED
Designer: Juan Kouyoumdjian
Builder: Killian Bushe
Skipper: Ger O’Rourke IRL

ERICSSON RACING TEAM INTERNATIONAL SWE
Designer: Juan Kouyoumdjian
Builder: Killian Bushe
Boatyard: Kista, Stockholm
Skipper: Torben Grael BRA, Navigator: Jules Salter GBR

ERICSSON RACING TEAM NORDIC SWE
Designer: Juan Kouyoumdjian
Builder: Killian Bushe
Boatyard: Kista, Stockholm
Skipper: Anders Lewander SWE, Navigator: Aksel Magdahl NOR

GREEN DRAGON CHN/IRL
Designer Reichel Pugh
Boatyard McConaghy (China)
Skipper Ian Walker GBR, Navigator Ian Moore GBR

PUMA OCEAN RACING USA
Designer: Botin Carkeek
Builder: Goetz Custom Boats
Boatyard: Newport, Rhode Island
Skipper: Ken Read USA, Navigator: Andrew Cape AUS

TEAM RUSSIA RUS
Designer: Rob Humphreys Yacht Design
Builder: Green Marine
Boatyard: Lymington, England
Skipper: Andreas Hanakamp AUT, Navigator: Wouter Verbraak NED

TELEFONICA BLACK ESP
Designer: Farr Yacht Design
Boatyard: Southern Ocean Marine, New Zealand
Skipper/Patron: Fernando Echávarri, ESP Navigator: Roger Nilson SWE

TELEFONICA BLUE ESP
Designer: Farr Yacht Design
Boatyard: King Marine, Valencia
Skipper: Bouwe Bekking, NED Navigator: Simon Fisher

Volvo Race Key Dates in Alicante

Race Village/Media Centre Opening Alicante: 19 September
Ericsson Press Conference: 29 September
Media Briefing: 30 September
Team Russia Press Conference: 2 October
Skippers’ Press Conference: 3 October
In-Port Racing: 4 October (1300 local time)

Volvo Race Route reminder

Leg One: Alicante – Cape Town
Leg Two: Cape Town – Cochin
Leg Three: Cochin – Singapore
Leg Four: Singapore – Qingdao
Leg Five: Qingdao – Rio de Janeiro
Leg Six: Rio de Janeiro – Boston
Leg Seven: Boston – Galway
Leg Eight: Galway – Goteborg/Marstrand
Leg Nine: Goteborg/Marstrand – Stockholm
Leg Ten: Stockholm – St Petersburg