Volvo Ocean Race starts today!

A round-the-world yacht race, held only once every three years, begins today! Skippers and crew on the handful of elite teams entered in the Volvo Ocean Race will spend the next nine months traveling nearly 40,000 nautical miles. All teams will race in Volvo Open 70s, making for a level playing field and awesome speed.

The race is underway in Alicante, Spain, and will finish in Galway, Ireland in July 2012. In the months to come, they’ll sail through Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, ItajaĆ­, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient.

From the official website:

The race is contested by 11-strong crews of professional sailors, who will experience temperatures ranging from -15 to +40 degrees Celsius over the course of the race. They will trust their lives to the boat skipper and experience hunger and severe sleep deprivation on legs lasting as long as 22 days. No fresh produce is taken on board during the race, meaning the teams will survive on freeze-dried food.

The push for even small advantages means the sailing teams are the forefront of technological advantages in the industry. The teams will compete in state-of-the-art Volvo Open 70s, the fastest racing yacht in the world. The current monohull speed record was set by the Volvo Open 70 Ericsson 4 during the 2008-09 race, with the boat covering 596 nautical miles in 24 hours.

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