It’s been called the Everest of Sailing, the Volvo Ocean Race, is a test of endurance for the bold sailors who during nine months cross the most demanding seas around the globe. Fortunately they are allowed to get ashore now and then and the 10th of June the boats will arrive at the picturesque Marstrand Island just outside Gothenburg.
Apart from being a center for sailing, the tiny island holds restaurants and hotels as well as a medieval street grid, the mythical Carlsten fortress from 1658 and grand buildings from the brilliant epoch in the late 1800s when the Swedish King Oscar II spent his summers here.
Many Swedes love sailing and will certainly be on the rocky shores (or in their boats) welcoming the contestants who set off from Galway, Ireland. After four days of rest and Swedish seafood in the hospitable port of Marstrand it is time to lay course on Stockholm and then the final destination, St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Volvo Ocean race started out as The Whitbread around the World Yacht Race in 1973. 17 race yachts left Portsmouth (UK) in the first attempt to complete a global, crewed yacht race. While today’s sailors are well aware of the rough conditions during the hard trip, the pioneers were not as well equipped. One of the boats’ crew consisted of Red Berets from the parachute regiment. Tough men but not known for their sailing skills. And while some of the boats hade both fridge and a freezer on board (not to mention wine for every meal), others only allowed freeze-dried food and one spoon per crewmember.
Although the race is now more professional, it still attracts the interest of sailing enthusiasts all over the world.