CAPE TOWN – Some of the world’s most adventurous sailors will embark on the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, known as the Everest of sailing, on Sunday.
Seven teams will endeavour to complete a 7 000 nautical mile trip from Lisbon to Cape Town today, which could take up to 22 days to complete.
The race will see sailors travel some 45 000 nautical miles in an around the world race culminating in a finish in The Hague, Netherlands next year. The fleet is expected to arrive in Cape Town on November 24.
The race is one of the most celebrated on the yachting calendar, and brings together a bunch of sailors who will undergo sleep deprivation and immense physical exhaustion as they battle the elements.
Cape Town will see parts of the V&A Waterfront transformed into a race village during the stopover period, which runs from November 24 to December 10.
Visitors can expect to take part in a variety of activities which include learning about environmental sustainability, testing your strength in physical challenges and purchasing race merchandise.
Bruce Parker-Forsyth, Worldsport chief executive officer, said global events such as the Volvo Ocean Race bring an injection to the local economy through tourism and increased trade at the host venue.
“The race village at Quay 6 will be the centre of attraction around which the magnificent 65ft racing yachts will be moored and hauled out for repairs and necessary adjustments.
"Several specialist boat-building companies will assist the race syndicates in the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard,” said Parker-Forsyth.
Visitors will have access to get up-close and personal with the yachts as they will be based at the port for the duration of the stop over.
There is also an in-port race on December 7 and spectators will get to see the action unfold before their eyes as the course is set up as close as possible to land.
This is the first edition of the race where sailing crews can include men and women.
This change was made in order to get more female sailors to take part.
All-male crews are at a disadvantage as this means they can only have a maximum of seven sailors on board.
While no all female crews will be taking part this year, every team has selected at least one woman to be part of the crew.
The yachts will also carry an on-board reporter who is not part of the crew.
The reporter’s duty will be to send daily updates on the race, which include sending back videos, pictures and text to be uploaded to the race website, giving fans an insight into the race.
On December 10 the third leg of the race departs from Cape Town to Melbourne.