Sunday, October 22, 2017


Ok, the title is provocative and expresses my disillusion with what has become this race; 2nd rate why? A first rate race is raced with state of the art machines and with the best racers in the world. We can take a parallel with the F1 when last year cars are outdated and not competitive and where all pilots, even the slowest are the best in car racing and are really the cream among top pilots.

The VOR is raced on monotypes that are far from being state of the art, designed by the loser (among NA) of the last edition raced with prototypes and the boats are slower than the fastest VOR of that edition, 7 years ago!!!

Among the sailors that race the VOR there are some top racers but the majority are far from being the best world’s offshore sailors and we reached a point where the rules are bended allowing an advantage in having women instead of men. Top racing is done with the best of the best, being them men or women, not giving some advantage in having women among the crew.

The race started and started well with many showing a big surprise (even among the TV commentators) for the Chinese  boat being ahead. Don’t understand why, they have by far the best crew and even if not all top sailors they have 4 of them, including the skipper more three good ones (including a woman) and only two less competitive sailors. Sure, Mapfre won the in port race but the Chinese team was close behind, after some mistakes and a good recovery.

If the best team has only 4 top offshore sailors and the others have less how can we call this a 1st rate race? Compare with the Vendee globe where almost all top solo offshore sailors are there and the boats are state of the art to the point of making impossible a last edition boat to win the race. Put the Groupama, the VOR that won two editions ago, competing on this VOR edition and he would win the race!!! So much for the state of the art sailboats!

Another ridiculous thing about this race is the boat nationalities, for instance they say: “Team AkzoNobel is a brand-new Dutch ocean racing team....continuing the remarkable legacy of Dutch teams competing in the race.” and they only have a Dutch among the crew !!!! A long way from the whitebread spirit where nations felt that they had boats representing them.

There is even a boat from the United Nations! Or an American/Danish boat without any Dane on it! If we consider (as it would be normal) that a boat to represent a country has to have at least the skipper plus more than half the crew from that country only Mapfre qualifies itself as representing a nation: Spain.

About this race: great start with the “Chinese” team showing already supremacy and with Mapfre showing that it can put a good fight and win some in port races or even legs. Or maybe I am wrong and the Spanish can fight in equal terms. You can follow this race, now on its first leg between Alicante and Lisboa here:


  1. I agree with you, though Vestas does actually have a dane on its team, Jena Mai Hansen.

    1. I thought nobody would agree with me on regarding the VOR LOL.
      I am sure you know more than me about the Vesta's team but Jena does not appear on the Vesta's crew list on the VOR official page.

  2. Great beginning by Vestas. You can see images live from the Gibraltar strait here:

  3. Anybody knows what's wrong with Dongfeng? Why they are so slow? They have bust a sail already?

  4. Hi again

    Well, that's because it only shows the current crew on that specific leg. She's part of the team, but were taken off a day before the start. Due to medical issues with one of other teammembers, she were replaced because she didn't have the required medical exam. As we speak, she is taking the medical exam in England, so the beforementioned won't happen again.

    Also, see this:

    By the way, keep up the good work with this blog.

    Best regards,
    Another dane

  5. Plenty of criticism of the Volvo Ocean Race in this story but not much balance as to the positives (introduction of female sailors, the top flight pedigree of the sailors including Olympic/America's Cup and VOR winners, the return to lots of Southern Ocean sailing, excellent tracking and online expert coverage, superb OBR content coming from the boats) or any insight into why the race has evolved this way. Without the introduction of one-design two races ago there would very likely not be a Volvo Ocean Race at all right now as there are no teams with backers willing to spend what Groupama spent to win the 2011-12 race in a custom designed boat. I also think you are wrong about the nationality of the crews back in the Whitbread days. Like today the crews were picked based on their ability to win the race and not on their nationality. Other than the Kiwi teams the line ups were full of sailors from around the world - including plenty of other Kiwis! This is your blog and your right to express your opinion but maybe try to check your facts and think a bit further than trying to write a weak controversial story to try to justify a blatant click bait headline. How about you don't take the easy route on stories like this, but try a bit harder to come up with a balanced and insightful piece that informs and entertains your readers rather than just mindlessly bashing one of the main pillars of the sport you are writing about.

  6. I agree with you, Paulo.
    The VOR is no longer the pinnacle of offshore racing, specially with the one-design boats.

  7. Thank you all for the positive comments. I wish to make clear that the Volvo is definitively an interesting race. I am pissed because it could be a lot better, even with less boats.

    It could represent for crewed racing what the Vendee globe is for solo racing and it just falls very short of being that.

    Justin, I am not saying that on past editions some crews were not mixed, namely on the whitbread but the French boat tended to have a French crew and the Australian boat an Australian crew. Today it is ridiculous to say that this or that boat is from this or that country when the vast majority of the crew is foreigner to the country they are supposed to represent.

    As I said the only one that can be said to represent a country is Mapfre with most of the crew being Spanish.

    The same happened on the America's cup but not no more. Chapeau to the New Zealanders that are going to introduce again some logic in what regards boats representing countries.