The race village is awash with the great and the good of ocean racing, as past Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race competitors arrive in Alicante for the Legends Regatta and Reunion, which takes place this week as a prelude to Saturday’s start of Leg 1 to Cape Town.
The centrepiece of the Legends event which runs from November 1-5 is the 16-boat fleet of past round the world race participants representing the race’s first 10 editions, which will be racing on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Legends fleet has assembled from across Europe and includes competitors from the very first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74 through to the 2008-09 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Much anticipated by the hordes of visitors in the race village is the match up between the two Whitbread 60s: Heineken, the first of the class to be built which raced in 1993-94 with an all-female crew, and Assa Abloy from the 2001-02 race.
Equally exciting will be the sight of the maxi yachts, Rothmans, Charles Jourdan, Steinlager 2 and Fisher & Paykel, who will be racing together for the first time since the 1989-90 race.
Two Volvo Open 70s from the 2008-09 edition, Telefónica Black and Green Dragon, will also go head to head out on the water this week.
From the inaugural Whitbread Race in 1973-74 will be the 55’ Tauranga from Italy, the British Royal Navy’s Adventure, represented by her sister ship Dasher, which also competed in the 1997-98 race, and the 77' maxi Great Britain II, the only yacht ever to take part in five consecutive Whitbread Round the World Races.
From the 1977-78 race will be the British 65’ sloop King’s Legend, along with the 57’ Berge Viking from Norway and the 65’ French yacht Gauloises III from the 1981-82 edition.
Also from France will be L’Espirit d’Equipe, the winning yacht from the 1985-86 race.
The fleet will race as one fleet around a single course, but given the range of size and performance of the yachts, in an effort to ensure the races culminate in an exciting finish, a pursuit race format will be used, where the older, slower yachts are given a head start over the faster more modern ones.
As well as the competing sailors, hundreds of past round the world race competitors have flooded into Alicante, to watch the racing, renew old acquaintances and enjoy the event’s packed social programme.
Also expected are Legends Regatta Ambassadors Lady Pippa Blake, Tracy Edwards MBE, Juan Vila, Magnus Olsson, Skip Novak, Pierre Fehlmann and Alain Gabbay.
The overall winner of the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta will be presented with the Sir Peter Blake Trophy, a renamed antique trophy made in 1926 and presented by Lady Pippa Blake as a tribute to her late husband, Sir Peter Blake, who competed in the first five Whitbread Round the World Races and won all five legs of the 1989-90 edition aboard Steinlager 2.
Runners and Riders
1. Tauranga (1973-74)
2. Adventure (1973-74 1977-78)
3. Great Britain II (first five races)
4. Kings Legend (1977-78)
5. Berge Viking (1981-82
6. Gauloises III (1981-82)
7. L’Esprit d’Equipe (1985-86)
8. Rothmans (1989-90)
9. Charles Jourdan (1989-90)
10. Steinlager 2 (1989-90)
11. Fisher & Paykel (1989-90)
12. Heineken (1993-94)
13. Assa Abloy (2001-02)
14. Telefónica Black (2008-09)
15. Green Dragon (2008-09)
- 18 Oct 2011Excitement builds ahead of Legends Regatta and Reunion
- 18 Oct 2011Legends: Heineken, Green Dragon and Telefónica Black
- 13 Oct 2011Alain Gabbay is latest Legends ambassador
- 12 Oct 2011King's Legend joins the Legends
- 11 Oct 2011France’s former Whitbread Race winner lines up for Legends
- 10 Oct 2011Let battle recommence