The Volvo Ocean Race will make an “important” announcement on Thursday afternoon. Our sources speculate it will be one of the 2014-15 stopovers. We have been also able to trace the most probable route. In brief, we expect the route to be the following one, with the stopovers in brackets still undecided: Alicante -> Itajai -> Abu Dhabi -> (India) -> Hong Kong -> Auckland -> Rio de Janeiro -> Newport -> Lorient -> (Rotterdam) -> Göteborg.
Here are in detail the reasons why this is the most probable route:
The race will start, and that isn’t a surprise of course, in Alicante. The first stopover will most probably be in Itajaí. It is our understanding the Brazilian port had a contract for two editions of the round-the-world race. From there the fleet will sail east, round the Cape of Good hope and head to Abu Dhabi. After they leave the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the VO65’s are expected to head to Hong Kong with a possible short stopover somewhere in India.
Hong Kong isn’t a surprise either, since the Chinese authorities have shown a very keen interest in the race. Volvo Cars is also Chinese-owned and not visiting the world’s most populous country would be similar to going to your home town for holidays without paying a visit to your parents. The Volvo Ocean Race fleet will then sail towards Auckland for another very successful stopover before attacking the mighty southern Pacific, rounding Cape Horn and reaching Brazil for the second time. Our sources believe Rio de Janeiro is the perfect fit for the second stopover in the Latin American giant.
The absence of Cape Town in this edition of the race, speculated on financial reasons, and the addition of Rio de Janeiro seem to be the factors behind the decision to make Itajaí the first stop after Alicante.
According to various press reports, two US cities are vying for the North American stopover, Baltimore and Newport. Our sources believe that Newport is the favorite one. The fleet will then cross the Atlantic and land in Lorient, France. The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race will finish in Göteborg, Sweden and a second European stopover is expected, but still undecided, in Rotterdam, after the VO65’s sail off Lorient.
This route isn’t, obviously, the official one but it is based on very reliable information. There might be a couple of changes but they will not dramatically alter the route.