The best way to be in touch with nine-month long Life at the Extreme adventure is by taking part in Virtual Regatta for Volvo Ocean Race.

Another three years have passed, and the longest and toughest professional sporting event in the world is about to begin.

Volvo Ocean Race 2017-2018.

I know what about I talking as I was one of 400K VOR (Volvo Ocean Race) virtual regatta 2014-2015 participants and I got a good result in the overall score.

 In company with seven Volvo 65 one-design state of art sailboats and other 400 000 virtual racers, we sailed about 45 thousand nautical miles around the Globe. Roaring Southern Ocean or dead calm in the Strait of Malacca nothing was an obstacle to cross the finish lines. It was a great experience for me especially as I am an offshore racer in real life as well; just nothing compares with these galls and guys on board of Vestas Wind, Mapfre, and other boats.

More detailed information about Volvo Ocean Race can be found online.

The Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) is a yacht race around the world, held every three years.

Originally named after its initiating sponsor, British Whitbread brewing company, it today carries the name of its current owner, Swedish automobile manufacturer Volvo Cars and Swedish multinational manufacturing company, the Volvo Group.

The first race began from Portsmouth, the United Kingdom on September 14, 1973.

I hope that time to time will stop to some race details either it be some specifics of navigation and route or live events from onboard activities.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post I took part of Virtual Regatta of VOR 2014-2015 and was in touch with almost every detail of the real race. Half a million people took part, and I could not find any other similar event with so many participants. I guess that most of the virtual racers (like me) have some knowledge about sailing, but it does not mean that it could not be a total beginner. Like every game, Virtual Regatta has a detailed instruction; it called Help Centre how to participate.

You can use PC, MAC, tablet, iPhone or any other smartphone on your favorite browser except Internet Explorer but Safari has some restrictions like lack of full-screen mode.

Today is October 14, 2017, and the first MAPFRE in-port race in Home Port Alicante Spain is about to begin. You can watch online here

Congratulations to MAPFRE, the winner of the first in-port race of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-2018, Alicante Spain.

Next event is leg One Alicante-Lisbon 22 October 2017.

To participate in Virtual Regatta for Volvo Ocean race 2017 simply log in and follow the screen tips. In fact, you can play incognito, but I sincerely recommend make your account to get all benefits. Like almost every game you can be a free player but for the relatively small fee get more advanced boat equipment and other tickets as weather, waypoints and more.

This year the paid options of VIRTUAL REGATTA OFFSHORE 3 are slightly changed, and ticket system has been implemented. Sadly but I suppose that it will be more expensive to get all benefits throughout the entire race. In the last VOR virtual regatta, I paid about 23 EUR in one single payment and got everything. Let’s see how much it will cost after a couple of weeks in the offshore race.

The core of Virtual Regatta Team gals and guys come from France but I guess that they are in close cooperation with the world’s top sailing elite.

I am not anymore a big computer game fan although years ago I used to play mainly simulator mode games like Colin McRae Rally, Need for Speed or Ship Simulator.

When it comes to Virtual Regatta, then I guess that it is much more just online simulator computer game. For real skippers like me, it is some challenge, the test of skills, learning process and most of all an exciting adventure whole nine months. Yes, and I hope to visit Hague in the Netherlands alive in June 2018 to meet and see seven state of art Volvo Ocean 65  one-design boats, crews and virtual sailors again. I visited Gothenburg Sweden in June 2015 where final events of VOR 2014-2015 was in progress. I spent unforgettable five days and didn’t regret any minute being there.

Unfortunately, I did not take part in other online games just last VOR regatta.  As I mentioned above some rules and conditions, have changed. Mainly it is regarding navigation tools and weather. It is hard to say in advance, although I took part in the live event of Prologue race, it was not enough to evaluate the new credit system. I guess that either it will be pricier or, to fit in the last regatta budget, more effort will be needed to put and more accurately calculate the courses and tracks.  Mainly because of not being able to get access to weather forecast data.

Here is the screenshot of main events and stats of Virtual Regatta.

I guess it can be helpful for Virtual Regatta for Volvo Ocean Race gamers.

Bulgarian smart guy Cvetan Ivanov, sailor, computer and programmer guru and so on has created automated weather routing software.

  • It can save you a lot of effort and hours of time spent plotting charts and looking for optimal solution by hand.
  • It should be able to predict your boat position in the next 12 hours accurately and help you schedule watches, turns and waypoints
  • The new weather forecast is available earlier. This gives you more time to make decisions.
  • It helps you make strategical decisions, but won’t make them for you. You decide on your own strategy by setting the goal.

So far I did not use it in a real event but in any case, the information provided on this website is certainly helpful and timesaving opportunity for virtual, and real as well, sailors.

Besides the great routing feature, the forum alone is worth to be the member. I found the real value information in one place. Let’s see in near future how this knowledge help improves my stats in the race.

Finally, the Volvo Ocean Race top performance around the World sailing regatta has begun. Watch new footages of the first leg from Alicante to Lisbon.

The leg one from Alicante to Lisbon has finished.

The real race winner is „Vestas 11th Hour Racing “followed by „Mapfre” and „Dongfeng Race Team.“ My Congratulations to Danish American team.

Virtual Regatta winner is „Sideshow“ from the UK.

I am not satisfied with my score. The strait of Gibraltar I was in the second hundred zone but did not follow zigzag course recommendation, and due to the lack of WPT tickets, I set Help which on the next morning dropped my boat back to the 11 300 position. My lesson learned is, do not use Help function and if you are about to fall asleep better set a straight course to expected morning position. Either purchase Waypoint marks. Anyway, during the next part of the race, I regain almost 5K for my final score. Start of the Leg 2 from Lisbon to Cape Town on November 5, 2017.

I think that next will be bad news for Virtual Regatta for Volvo Ocean Race participants.
What?
It is no secret for VOR (Volvo Ocean Race) VR (virtual regatta) skippers that the present ( at the time of writing 1st November 2017) options of the game is far from the spirit of fair competition. Not only because of high ticket prices and expensive each leg boat set up bundles. Lack of polars and 4knt wind threshold are just some of the drawbacks comparing the previous VR2 version of the game.
As I mention above Bulgarian skipper and programmer Cvetan Ivanov has created Sailing Simulator to help virtual skippers not only for VOR game and free access is open for everyone on zezo.org
Due to the VR3 issues and lack of the forum on virtualregatta.com many skippers, Leg 1 winners, and top ranks included, very actively discussing there.

Philippe, founder/owner of Virtual Regatta as stated in his signature has blame Mr.Cvetan Ivanov and call him as a
Read a forum thread as you will find much useful information from members.
What do I think about it myself?

Honestly, I will participate in next leg two Lisbon-Cape Town, hopefully, spend another 14.99 EUR to equip my boat fully, hope not to spend a dime for cardgame like ticket system.  If nothing is changed, then it will be last time sailing on this platform.

Today November 3, 2017, the Team Brunel wins The Mirpuri Foundation In-Port Race Lisbon.

It was exciting to see how Brunel followed by Mapfre which cross the finish line just seconds later. It was the unforgettable sprint around Lisbon including a photo finish like in Formula One.

Watch full replay

The epic leg from Lisbon to Cape town started yesterday.

After a spectacular loop on Tagus river whole fleet of Volvo Ocean 65 boats reach up to 30 knt begun their voyage and hard choice of the right path towards the Table Mountain.

The popularity of Virtual Regatta for Volvo Ocean Race has fallen. At the moment ranking table shows only a bit more than 50K boats vs. 75K on the first leg. Reasons? I I assume that it is a set of different reasons as the high price of boat bundles, schoolboy-like interface and barrel, lack of polars and much more even compared with last edition VR VOR2. Personally, I am not particularly satisfied with the fact that there is no forum and game management attitude to criticisms and recommendations.


Anyway, I am in the sailing mode for now at least. It is hard to refuse of the challenge as this is the first time when westerly waypoint Fernando de Noronha is removed. Live boat skippers and navigators, as well as virtual, are free to choose either go higher speeds route on trade winds or choose shorter but riskier African coast track.
Those will be exciting and sometimes sleepless three weeks.

Another day is passed, and the first time I step to the leaderboard.
Actually, this is no big achievement yet, because 6000 miles ahead, but it’s nice to see my boat „andrel“ among the top 50 boats. Many previous stage leaders, as well as real boats, chose to go far to the west. Our company is approaching African coast. Low winds ahead and this is a risky decision. Then we’ll see who will be the winners.

Today is November 13, 2017

Virtual fleets are split and a phrase „The West is Best“ this time seems true. Almost half of the route has sailed, but the west route fleet in company with real boats weather forecast is more promising to reach Cape Town before African coast route boats.

MAPFRE, the Spanish-flagged team led by skipper Xabi Fernández has won Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race, a 7,000 nautical mile marathon from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa.

Leg 2 – Provisional Results – as at Saturday 25 November at 00:18 UTC

1. MAPFRE — FINISHED — 15:10.33 UTC – 19 days, 01h:10m:33s
2. Dongfeng Race Team — FINISHED — 18:02.39 UTC – 19 days, 04h:02m:39s
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing — FINISHED — 19:37.53 UTC – 19 days, 05h:37m:53s
4. Team Brunel — FINISHED — 00:14.47 UTC – 19 days, 10h:14m:47s
5. team AkzoNobel +323.7
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +324.9
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +326.6

Belgian virtual skipper Rémy Quetstroey has triumphed in the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race game.

His boat finished more than two hours ahead of any other boat – a real rarity in a game with so many players. He crossed the line at 00:22 UTC on Friday, 18 days, 11 hours, 22 minutes and 16 seconds after setting off from Lisbon. French player tame bird crossed the line in second place, with La_Semillante TPN, also from France, in third.

My strategy was to avoid following the big players because by doing that I would never be able to get ahead of them,” said Rémy, a cruising yachtsman. “I knew from playing this game before that it is always better to get to Cape Town by being west instead of going down the African coast but in my opinion the star players were going too far…“

My Congratulations

My choice to stick with African coast was wrong, and partly it is because I blindly trusted the Zezo sailing simulator. No doubt that Zezo is very helpful you just need to learn how to use it properly.

One thing is in short distances up to ten days legs. In long sailing routes, you have to be smarter. Not only weather forecasts but by studying historical data as well as experienced skipper reviews and common sense by choosing the right track.

I have more three days to go to see Table Mountain on the horizon, but I have learned much in this leg regardless Virtual Game drawbacks comparing to the last second edition.

I have not decided yet on participating in next VOR legs. It will depend on how much VR3 creators will respond to criticism and pricing.

Let’s take a look Volvo Ocean Race Edition 2017-2018 Leg two in less than four minutes.

Leg 2 in 200 seconds

✔️ An epic Lisbon start✔️ A big finish in Cape Town✔️ 7,000 miles in between!What an incredible Leg 2! Here's 3 very wet and very fast weeks in 200 seconds 👇

Posted by Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday, November 25, 2017

Epic Leg 2 of Volvo Ocean Race edition 2017-2018 from Lisbon to Cape Town is completed.

Lessons learned and for me, The West is Best has definitely become a reality.
Am I satisfied with my result? Honestly, no.

 

Next adventure begins in about a couple of weeks towards Down Under wonderful port and city Melbourne.

Will I participate in it? Probably, however, yes.

The final standings after Leg 2 for Volvo Ocean Race Edition 2017-2018

Cape Town In-Port Race December 8, 2017

Unfortunately, my favorite Vestas 11 Hour Racing had some troubles and lost his starting first position and finished in fourth place. Dongfeng Race Team showed perfect tactical skills and performance.

Congratulations!


I am ready to conquer Southern Ocean winds and icebergs. My virtual boat in on standby and fully equipped. Leg 3 to Melbourne starts on Sunday.

After twelve years of absence, the Southern Ocean Leg 3 is in progress again.

Legendary Roaring Forties with 7 to 11 meters swells are expected. Is this more about brawn than brains? Not anymore when boat speeds reaching 30 knots, then brains are in the first place. For virtual skippers not easy to choose the right track, and so it’s even more exciting. The annoying barrel has gone at least for now. It is just the first miles sailed, and Cape of Good Hope slowly disappears behind the horizon.

Trying to escape from the first Southern Ocean storm.

Virtual skippers in company with real Volvo Ocean 65 yachts just a couple of days after the start of Leg 3 from Cape Town to Melbourne.

December 21st 2017

For hundreds of other virtual skippers and me, Leg 3 from Cape Town to Melbourne is completed. This is my best score ever achieved 617th out of more than 65K boats.

The first goal is reached, and I am first from about 50 Latvian skippers. The last stage was match racing with another Latvian boat and finish line I crossed just a couple of minutes ahead. Real VOR 65 boats still in exciting race performance and all of them doing incredible Life In Extreme. I hope the first couple will reach Melbourne on Xmas eve.

December 27th 2017

The Leg 3 of 2017/2018 edition of Volvo Ocean Race is almost completed. Team AkzoNobel still about 150 miles from Melbourne finish line and right now making upwind sailing with low speeds and the weather forecast is not too encouraging to reach the docks for today. Anyway, the team is in a good mood, and the only drawback is a little time to rest before the start of next Leg 4 to Hong Kong which is scheduled for 2nd of January 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

The short summary of this tough Southern Ocean passage.

After an absence of 12 years, Cape Town to Melbourne’s leg is back. It is part of the route from the original Whitbread Round the World Race. It is double point leg like the stage from Auckland to Itajai.

All in all, no major accidents except Annie Lush racing aboard Team Brunel, was injured when she was washed into the aft guardrails by an errant wave.

Team AkzoNobel during one gybe damaged the track that attaches the mainsail to the back edge of the mast. It slowed down the boat speed and even after the second successful attempt to repair the track the boat lost so many miles to the closest rival.

One more failure suffers the second podium yacht Dongfeng Race Team which make them nervous right before the finish line as Vestas 11th Hour Racing was insistently chasing.

The team reports the port keel ram, which helps to cant the keel (pushing the keel on an angle to one side to increase righting moment, and thus speed and power), is not working properly.

All in all, it was really physically hard sailing especially for crews sailing close to ice gates and gybing almost every hour. It was on the edge of human abilities.

Here are standings after (AkzoNobel not finished yet) Leg 3.

Leg 4 from Melbourne to Hong Kong was started the 2nd of January 03 UTC.
It’s 5,600 miles of racing. A quick glance at a map will tell you that there’s plenty of land between those two spots.

Any other hazards?

Tropical Cyclones: The January start date for this leg puts them well into the cyclone (hurricane-sized storms) season for this part of the Pacific, and there is a good chance that the leg will be influenced one way or another by a cyclone somewhere in the Pacific.

North-east Monsoon: Once the fleet break clear of the Doldrums, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands they will be headed north-west in the north-easterly Trade Winds. So this should be a pretty fast section, more or less a straight-line drag race all the way to the finish line in Hong Kong.

Virtual Regatta for this leg is postponed for me due to the wrong setup for my boat from the game developer side. I still waiting respond to my ticket and refund of full pack boat setup € to PayPal. Attitude to customers from Virtual Regatta is getting worse.


January 20, 2018.

Leg 4 is done. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag record historic win into home port of Hong Kong. Second place took Dongfeng Race Team just because of Vestas retirement.

Here is what Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier said

„…The leg was very complicated, and even though we sailed very well, the Doldrums was a nightmare. You never know what’s going to happen – and Scallywag caught a couple of clouds and took the lead.

What means the words about „a couple of clouds “?  Mr. Caudrelier, they just did this job better, and that’s all.

Sad news.

It was the collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and fishing vessel some 30 miles off Hong Kong. One man from the fishing boat was reported dead nine rescued. All Vestas crew is safe, but the boat has damaged port bow above the water line at least what can be seen from the pictures. Investigations in progress.

It is still short of news about the collision details, but I just want to add my two cents.

For those who read my About Me page knows that I am ex-merchant mariner navigation officer as well as sailboat skipper. I used to sail in those waters and sometimes it was the real nightmare due to fishing boat activities. They are engaged in fishing (or not) either without any SOLAS navigation lights or so many different lights that no way to make concussion what is it. Any calls by VHF radio is useless as no one speaks English. The keeping of sharp lookout is required, very sharp.

 One more nuance I would like to notice regarding navigation safety. It regards usage of AIS (automatic identification system). Many navigators, mainly the last generation, consider that AIS is almost the main navigation device what is very wrong opinion. Yes, it helps a lot to acquire ships around you, but never, I repeat „NEVER“  be considered a navigation tool. In this regard, I want to say that using the Stealth Mode in busy fishing areas for Volvo Ocean race boats is dangerous.

More details are about to come.

Read here what are my thoughts on safe navigation.


February 4, 2018.

It is more than two weeks since Vestas 11th Hour Racing has involved in fatal collision with the fishing boat. There are still no details available for this collision, at least I can’t Google it. For me, as a professional deep-sea navigator, this is about the seriousness of the matter. Maritime accidents are always blamed on both sides; just the question is who is guiltier. Mostly it depends on the strength of lawyers and of course money.

Today is February 4, 2018, so two and a half days before the start of Leg 6 Hong Kong to Auckland. Official Volvo Ocean Race web page shows the same Vestas crew list. I would very much like that it remains the same but very doubtful about it. Hope I’m wrong.

As I wrote, I did not participate in the Leg 4 virtual competition due to the Virtualregatta team’s mistake in equipping my boat. I opened PayPal case to refund money. Long story which ends with free Full Pack for my boat for Leg 6.

Short about  situation for Today.

February 27, 2018.

This morning my virtual boat crossed the finish line. I have not so much to say about this Leg 6 from Hong Kong to Auckland. I have followed general recommendations by Zezo weather routing software. I hope I have learned from mistakes I made in previous legs and finished as 261st out of almost 60K boats. My congratulations to GB „Sideshow“ who made another great performance.

Real boats still racing and the first arrival expected tonight. Next Leg 7 Auckland to Itajai is scheduled for 18th of March and expected to be the toughest and longest with double points.

I hope to see Vestas 11th Hour Racing in the fleet company. Still, have no news about the collision. Regardless of the investigation, it’s not fair that this event is hiding from the public and causes rumors and distrust of organizers of VOR.

Here is Volvo Ocean Race standings after Leg 6.

volvo ocean race scoreboard

Vestas 11th Hour Racing to rejoin the race.

Regarding Vestas Collision, it is still not clear the real situation. We can find some statements from the Team and other VOR officials but for me it looks like just reservations to calm the audience. It leads to distrust of the whole event and rumours around the future of Volvo Ocean race at all.


March 11, 2018

In-Port Race in the Auckland City of Sails featuring a chaotic start and windless Doldrums like conditions and a final sprint to the finish line!

Scoreboard after New Zealand Herald In-Port Race.

March 18, 2018

Auckland as always pleased with the beautiful sailing event. The start was spectacular, and boats sailed in 7,500 miles long tough but exciting race.

The main fleet of Virtual Regatta boats is heading south.

Match 21, 2018.

Day three of epic 7.6K miles leg around Cape Horn.
Hard Chinese gybe (gybe) onboard Turn the Tide on Plastic. Strong winds up to 50-60 knots and huge swells expected in coming days on the route towards Itajai, Brazil.

Hard Chinese jybe onboard Turn the Tide on Plastic during Volvo Ocean Race !

Hard Chinese jybe onboard Turn the Tide on Plastic during Volvo Ocean Race !

Posted by Sailing More on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March 27 2018

The sad news from Volvo Ocean Race headquarters.

Man overboard from Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. Immediate actions have been taken by boat and MRCC (Marine Rescue Coordination Center), but hopes have faded that Adelaide-based British sailor John Fisher, 47, will be found alive after searchers failed to find him in stormy conditions, 1400 nautical miles west of Cape Horn in the Southern Ocean.

My condolences.

The short review on April 4, 2018.

Team Brunel won the double point epic Leg 7 plus one point as first boat passing Cape Horn.

Dongfeng just 15 minutes later crossed the finish line. AkzoNobel expected arrival on 5th of April but Turn The Tide of Plastic and Mapfre the next day.


Team SHK/Scallywag make landfall in Chile.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing boat on March 30 has dismasted 100 miles off the Falkland Islands then motored to port and now awaited logistics to be at the start of next leg 8 at 22nd of April.

My virtual boat has crossed the finish line Yesterday as 207th.

________________________________________________

April 20, 2018

Finally, all seven Volvo Ocean 65 boats are in Itajai. Today in-port race will participate six of them except Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag as the boat arrived just yesterday and the team is in a race against time to be ready for the Leg 8 to Newport RI in the USA.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing joining the fleet with newly installed mast and rigs.

Here is overall standings for the moment

My virtual boat is ready and the full pack is activated so another exciting two racing weeks is expected. Good luck!

————————————————————————————————————————-

April 27, 2018

The fifth day of the leg 8 Itajai to Newport. Heading North. My virtual boat is in the western company. The overall leader skippers have chosen the more eastern route with higher wind speed but the slightly longer distance to go. Let’s see in a couple of days. I hope that I have not repeat the Leg 2 mistake while sailing along the African coast. Following the tracker of real boats, I see that all company is somewhere between virtual boats.

Daily Live Thursday 26 APRIL

Scoreboard and the incredible final mile of Leg 8 in Newport fog.

May 24, 2018

Today is the fifth day of the last double point ocean route from Newport RI to Cardiff in progress. Team Brunel is leading for the moment despite of rudder problem which has been fixed.

Virtual boats with leading skippers (my boat in the company) chose North-Eastern route close to Newfoundland Cape Race. Another small group of smart guys (gulls) managed to catch better winds and are in the lead about 100 miles. Actually, it’s almost impossible to catch them but who knows it is a little bit more than halfway to go.

Week in Review – Leg 9, week 1

To be continued

Scoreboard after Leg 9.

Team Brunel wins cross Atlantic Leg 9 just about 4 minutes before Team AkzoNobel. Tricky Bristol Channel tidal streams let Brunel find the winning track.

 

June 8, 2018

Dongfeng Race Team takes come-from-behind win in Sky Ocean Rescue In-Port Race.

Watch this and enjoy the professional sailing performance.

 

June 18, 2018,Recap of Leg 10.

It was one of the most exciting competitions on Volvo Ocean Race. Just in less than a week-long route around the UK North coast leaders have changed almost every day. The final miles Team Brunel found the right path and overtake Mapfre little than ten miles before the Inmarsat finish line in Gothenburg.

Now is the three-way tie that will be settled by the result of this final leg. It’s all going to come down to one last 700 nautical miles run from Gothenburg to The Hague. Dongfeng, Mapfre, and Brunel have 65 points (Dongfeng one extra point for the shortest elapsed time around the world). The final Leg 11 will be the most dramatic in race history.

Watch arrivals in Gothenburg, better than any action movie.

 

July 3, 2018

Volvo Ocean Race edition 2017/2018 is over. The winner is Dongfeng.

The Volvo Ocean Race era remains in history. It is not yet clear about future but a partnership agreement has been made with the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA), which provides the exclusivity to use the IMOCA 60 for crewed round the world yacht races.

Let’s see in three years what situation on starting line, what the name will hold around the world yachting race. I do not wanna make any guesses, who knows, sometimes big changes are not so bad.

See you in oncoming races.