Heading to adventure, heading to The Hague

The start of the Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante marks the beginning of an incredible new, months-long adventure. Seven boats set-off from the port on Sunday at 14:00. Awaiting the sailors - at the end of 45,000 nautical miles, which is about 83,000 kilometres over land – is the ultimate reward. In June 2018, the finish in The Hague promises to be spectacular.

No matter who you speak to at the start of this Volvo Ocean Race, everyone still vividly remembers the stopover in The Hague in 2015. At the time, the sailing spectacle attracted more spectators than anywhere in the world. In Alicante, many have already embraced the idea that The Hague is now The Ultimate Destination.

From Alicante, the fleet sails to Lisbon. From there, it’s on to the ports of Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajai, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg, before sailing the final leg to The Hague. There are points to be earned in every stage, with the final ‘deciding’ points being awarded in the leg to The Hague. "It would be great if we could just grab the last few points for the win right there," Carlo Huisman of Team Brunel looking ahead. "That would make the arrival in The Hague completely historic."

All teams have been provided with an identical Volvo Ocean 65. In the previous edition, this concept resulted in cost savings - the teams did not have to design a boat - and to a more exciting competition. This also means that it’s now more about the sailor’s capabilities than ever. Any enhancement, innovation or alteration is immediately visible; adjustments are now, more than ever, of the utmost importance. In recent months, training has shown that the Spanish boat - Mapfre - has a slight advantage over the rest of the field. But a lot can happen in eight months of sailing.

 From the seven participating boats, there are two flying a Dutch flag: AkzoNobel was the first to announce its campaign, Team Brunel jumped in towards the end. On Sunday, four Dutch will be onboard: Bouwe Bekking is the skipper of Team Brunel. He also has Carlo Huisman in his crew. Huisman makes his debut in the Volvo Ocean Race, just like Annemieke Bes. The 2008 Olympic silver winner sails as the only woman aboard the Volvo Ocean 65 from Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag. Carolijn Brouwer embarks for the third time, on this occasion as a member of the Dongfeng campaign.

 De gemeente Den Haag heeft in Alicante bij de start ook een boot liggen: een Klompboot. Aldus vraagt Den Haag aandacht voor de stad als ideale plek om te wonen, werken en verblijven. En nátuurlijk om grote evenementen te bezoeken.

 Tienpont weer schipper

The municipality of The Hague also has a boat at the start in Alicante: a Clog Boat. The Hague’s aim is to draw attention to the city as an ideal place to live, work and stay; and of course as a place to visit major events. Thanks to the funky clog-boat boat, the concept of City by the Sea gets lots of attention. Visitors can hop on board for a harbour tour. The Hague also plans to have a presence at other Volvo Ocean Race ports. Experienced sea-sailor Gerd-Jan Poortman - three-time participant in the Volvo Ocean Race - is captain. In the coming months he’ll be making videos about the sailors’ experiences.

Klompboot


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