Mapfre confirmed as third team for this year's Volvo Ocean Race, with a new Melbourne stopover also announced.
Mapfre has confirmed their participation in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race, returning after their fourth-placed finish in the last edition. The Spanish insurance company will again be backing a team in the 2017/18 race, rejoining Charles Caudrelier and the Dongfeng Race Team from the last race on the startline, together with a new Dutch AkzoNobel entry skippered by Simeon Tienpont.
Mapfre finished fourth overall last time, winning the leg from Sanya, China, into Auckland, New Zealand, with an international team that included French, British and Spanish sailors from the worlds of both crewed and short-handed ocean racing. No skipper or crew announcements have yet been made for the 2017 squad, although the team will be led by Pedro Campos, who has headed up the past five Spanish entries in the round the world race since the Movistar campaign in 2005/06.
Pedro Campos, CEO of Team Mapfre, said: “We are very grateful and proud to have the full support of Mapfre once again for the great adventure that is the Volvo Ocean Race, probably the longest, hardest, and most extreme event in the sports world. Just taking part in it, it’s a big goal for every team. To be on start line from Alicante with a chance to try to win – that is our first big challenge and our job for the next months.”
“It’s fantastic news to be able to confirm a Spanish team for the next edition, and of course great to see another sponsor return to the race after a successful campaign,” commented Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner. “With Alicante recently confirmed as the start for the next three editions, and Spain having played a significant role in the history of the race in general, it will be great to see Spanish fans lined up again on the dock in October.”
Eight one-design Volvo 65s are currently being prepared for the October race start – seven being refitted at the race organisers’ ‘boatyard’ in Lisbon, and an eighth built new, so a further five team announcements are anticipated in the coming months. All teams are due to line up for the Rolex Fastnet Race in mid-August, giving just over six months’ preparation time. At the London Boat Show earlier this month current race champion skipper Ian Walker commented that there was “No panic to be on the water,” adding, “you probably want to be on the water by May.”
The 2017 Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante on Sunday, 22 October with a 45,000-nautical mile route around the world. A new stopover has also been recently added, with the fleet pausing at Melbourne, Australia in a ‘compressed stopover’ splitting the planned long trans-ocean leg of Cape Town to Hong Kong. The fleet is due into Melbourne around and will set off again on Leg 4 on 2 January, 2018.
The full route takes the fleet from Lisbon to Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou in China, Auckland, Itajaí in Brazil, Newport in Rhode Island, then Cardiff and Gothenburg before the finish in The Hague.