Things I Won’t Understand
Published on February 8th, 2018
by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
The problem with closely following the Volvo Ocean Race is that it will inevitably frustrate me. Trust me, the Curmudgeon label is well earned. Here’s what’s bugging me about the 2017-18 edition:
Mileage: It is beyond my sensibility why race organizers consistently choose to list the mileage for each leg at a longer distance than reality. The explanation? They want to list the tactical distance. WTF? It’s not the business of race organizers to guess how many miles will actually be sailed, and this approach becomes a complete mess as soon as the race starts. How? Because the tracker lists actual distance to finish. Leg 6 was listed as 6100 nm, and after 24 hours of racing, the overstated distance makes you think the boats had gone nearly 1000 nm. Dumb!
Stealth mode: Nobody tries harder to engage fans than the Volvo Ocean Race. They use a great tracker and have blogs and raw media off the boat. Social media is active too. Creating interest in the race, and heightening the connection with each team, is part of the commercial model. So why then turn out the lights so the racers can use the stealth mode tactical tool? What other race does this? The race has been turned into entertainment, and this 24 hour blackout is the equivalent of me missing an episode of my favorite television series. Organizers need to focus on giving me reasons to care more, not care less.
Transparency: I have been called insensitive with regard to my comments about the lack of information with regard to the Vestas accident. I get that… someone died and being closely connected to an event like that changes lives. I can’t imagine what it was like to have been involved, and it is understandable to withhold sensitive details, but a shutdown of basic information too? That’s not what sports do.
Beginning on February 7, Leg 6 is listed as a 6,100 nautical mile course from Hong Kong to Auckland, New Zealand.
2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
• Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
• Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
• MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
• Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
• Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
• Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
• Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)
Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.