Leg Zero not only takes care of the official qualifying for the Volvo Ocean Race – it’s also the first chance to see the teams in a competitive shakedown against each other. No points will be carried forward to the race itself, but the overall Leg Zero winner still gets a confidence boost – and here, round-the-world Vendée Globe sailor Conrad Colman fills us in on how it might play out.
Leg Zero breakdown
Don’t go looking for the logic, but Leg Zero is actually made up of four separate races. The seven teams taking part – team AkzoNobel, Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Brunel – will face the following schedule:
2 August: an intense 50-nautical mile sprint around the Isle of Wight
6 August start: the famous Rolex Fastnet Race featuring some of the hottest yachting hardware on the planet in a 608 nm coastal race that has historically served up a hearty dose of danger – and a lot of stressed navigators.
Then comes another big challenge, with two Volvo Ocean Race-only legs:
10 August start: Plymouth, England to St Malo in France (125 nm)
13 August start: St Malo to Lisbon, Portugal (770 nm)
There are no other boats to act as a distraction on these last two legs, just the world’s strictest offshore One Design fleet and the clock ticking down to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante, Spain on 22 October 2017.
(more info about Leg Zero races)