Happy birthday to us!

Text by Jonno Turner
Go Guo!
The Italian Job
Happy birthday to us! Text by Jonno Turner
Cake? Check. Candles? Check. The odd wrinkle? Um, check.

Whether you're singing Happy Birthday, Feliz Cumpleaños or mumbling Grattis på födelsedagen through mountains of chocolate cake, there's one thing for sure.

Yep, it's time to celebrate - the Volvo Ocean Race is officially 42 years old today!

See those hip and happening dudes up there? That's Second Life, one of the boats on the first ever starting line of this Race.

The one in the middle? That's Roddy Ainslie. He has a son called Ben - or Sir Ben, to most - you may have heard of him.

But these denim-clad warriors weren't the only crew of adventurers to take to the oceans in search of an epic ride in the first Whitbread Round the World Race.

There was Burton Cutter, skippered by Brit Alan Smith, who won Leg 1 from Portsmouth to Cape Town and featured a young sailor by the name of Peter Blake.

There was Pen Duick VI, skippered by French legend Eric Tabarly, which went on to win Leg 2 into Sydney.

If you missed our Whitbread Legends film from the Lorient stopover, check it out below!

And there was Mexican entrant Sayula II, skippered by Ramon Carlin. They won Leg 4 from Rio de Janeiro to Portsmouth - and also scooped the overall trophy.

Since then, we've seen 11 editions featuring the toughest sailors on the planet, the most remote regions on the planet and the most challenging conditions Mother Nature has up her sleeve. Check out Skip Novak's orange threads in 1977!

And we keep coming back for more. The last edition, which finished in June, was just as magical, intense and exciting as the first.

So we say Happy Birthday to us. Thanks to every character who has enriched this Race over the years, and cheers for the memories.

But here at Volvo Ocean Race HQ, we're not the kind to spend time looking backwards.

That's why we're already working on making the next edition of this Race even better than the last dozen. Watch this space as the next race around the world begins to take shape.

As you can see by the selection of photos below, that's 42 epic years, done. Here's to the next!