The Volvo Ocean Race sailors have had a week+ off to recharge themselves after a long and tough leg from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand. But as the sailors disappear to reconnect with family and friends and explore New Zealand, the work is non-stop for the crew at the VOR Boatyard as they prepare the boats for the toughest and longest leg yet – from Auckland, to Itajai, Brazil 6,776nm away.
This year’s race, with the implementation of one-design boats, has allowed the VOR race management to centralize many of the operations that were once a financial burden to the individual teams. By using identical boats, the VOR has cleverly reduced team costs by providing universal access to a core group of sailmakers, boat builders, riggers and the like, leaving each team to worry about sailors and shore support – minus the giant burden of boat maintenance on personnel and budget.
Meet the Boatyard: the one stop shop for all teams to fix, reinforce, repair and prepare every boat with equal access to centralized supplies and labor provided by the Volvo Ocean Race. Along with the race village, the Boatyard is packed up and shipped around the globe, beating the boats to each stop, and greeting them with a complete shop set up ready to haul and inspect, repair and relaunch.
Last week the media got a great inside peek at the Boatyard where they allowed tours and photos of the setup. Check out the picture gallery from Sail-World.com and be sure to stop down to Fort Adams in Newport, RI in early May (May 5, to be exact) when the Boatyard (and the rest of the VOR Village) arrives for the North American stopover. You will be able to check out the boats and the Boatyard on site and get a good feel for how the race’s shoreside ops are running. Additionally there are lots of great family activities and weeks of food, fun and entertainment being held at the Race Village at Fort Adams State Park.
And if you’re particularly ambitious this spring, get your boat ready to launch by early May and stand by to be part of the [sure-to-be] impressive local fleet assembled to greet the teams as they approach the Newport finish line from Brazil. It’s an amazing thing – to head out from Newport’s coastline in search of the arriving boats – at whatever time of the day that happens to be. Nighttime and middle of the night are actually pretty amazing! Don’t be dissuaded! Be a local badass and get out there! Also plan to be in Newport on May 16 for the In-Port Race and on Sunday May 17 for the exciting start of Leg 7, when all the teams line up for an impressive start off Fort Adams.
Let’s show the Volvo Ocean Race, the rest of the stopover cities and our local Team Alvimedica that Newport was the right choice for the North American stopover.
The fleet sets out from Auckland for the fifth leg of nine on Sunday, March 15. It is the longest and most challenging stage of the nine-month race, which takes the fleet through the Southern Ocean to the next destination of Itajaí in Brazil.
Newport’s stopover info can be seen here on the VOR site.
Newport’s official stopover website is here with volunteer, event and schedule info.