Sailing is a massive sport and pastime for increasing numbers of people around the globe. There are new events cropping up each year that earn a worthy place on the sailing calendar. Along with a great many existing events that have been running for considerable time. In this blog we will take a look at some of the biggest and best sailing events around the globe. Some you will be familiar with; however, we also aim to uncover a few of the lesser known events.
The Volvo Ocean Race
It’s difficult to imagine sailing events that come much bigger than The Volvo Ocean Race. Known for a long time as The Around the World Race, sponsored by Whitbread, it has been running since 1973. The inaugural event saw no fewer than 17 entrants race across 4 different legs. The event started and finished in Portsmouth, UK and the Mexican team skippered by Ramon Carlin took home the trophy on Sayula II. The event really caught the public’s imagination with no less than 3,000 spectator boats setting out to witness the start of the epic 50,900 KM journey. Restaurateur Whitbread passed ownership of the event over to car manufacturer Volvo in 2005 and the event really has gone from strength to strength.
The Vendee Globe
If you are a fan of endurance sailing then The Vendee Globe could well be for you! Billed as a single-handed, non-stop race around the globe, there is no assistance allowed with this race and it is not for the feint of hearts. Founded back in 1989 by Frenchman Philippe Jeantot the event is recognized as a true test of ocean skills. The initial race saw Jeantot taking part; however, he didn’t quite have the skills to match eventual winner Titouan Lamazou and ended up placing 4th. Of the 7 finishers from a field of 13 that entered there was an astonishing difference in timings. Perhaps giving some overall perspective to the rigors of this race it is important to understand that the winner completed in 109 days and 8 hours, with Jeantot finishing some 4 and a half days later. The final finisher crossed the line 163 days after starting the race!
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Another stamina driven racing event comes in the form of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and takes place on an annual basis. The 26th of December (boxing day) is the day set aside for the start of this race. While certainly not the longest of races, this happens to be regarded as another tough race, partly because of the sheer size of competition. Over 100 yachts pit their wits against each other in a race that takes around two days to complete.
Dating back to 1945 the event has grown in stature of the years. As you might expect Australian domination has been hard to break; however, there has been sustained success over the years from New Zealand and The United States of America. However, it was the British ship Rani that saw off the field to take home the honors in the initial outing.