Volvo route rumours ahead of Notice of Race announcement
On the eve of the publication of the Volvo Ocean Race Notice of race for the 2014/15 edition, rumour has it that the soon to be announced route will include two visits to Brazil and a return to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, China, Auckland New Zealand, and Lorient in France. It is also rumoured that the race will end in Sweden – possibly in Gothenburg. If all this conjecture turns out to be true then both Cape Town, South Africa and Galway, Ireland, look set to miss out as stopover destinations.
So far just one team (the SCA all-women team from Sweden) has been announced for the next Volvo, which will be raced in strictly controlled one-design 65-footers designed by Farr Yacht Design. But there are also whispers of soon to be confirmed entries from Lithuania, Abu Dhabi and Turkey.
There is also bar room talk of the possibility of two New Zealand campaigns, with Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson being touted as leading one of them. Chris Nicholson’s CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand finished second in the last race but there is no word yet if Nico will be back to finish the job.
The winners of the last race, Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team, will not be returning after Cammas French insurance giant Groupama announced a reduced sponsorship for the next three years.
PUMA are also believed not to be planning a third Volvo campaign. PUMA skipper Ken Read, who after the finish of the last race tight lipped about one more attempt to win the Volvo, appears unlikely to return having been recently announced as taking over as president of North Sails.
Spain’s Team Telefonica – who led for much of the last race before Iker Martinez’s crashed out of contention when they broke two rudders on the tumultuous leg from Lisbon in Portugal to Lorient – do not look set to return either. Word is that Telefonica skipper Martinez and his 49er crew Xabi Fernandez have commissioned a new Juan Kouyoumdjian¬†designed IMOCA 60 for a crack at the the doublehanded 2014/15 Barcelona World Race which takes place at the same time as the next Volvo.