Take A Left At Cape Horn

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Skipper Ken Read gives an insider’s view of the new race route.

Skipper Ken Read is a homer. He resides in Newport, RI with his family and white golden retriever, Toby.


“When our team left Newport last time, it was one of the most emotional times on the water ever,” he says. “Coming home was equally emotional.”


Read takes the helm for PUMA once again for the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race. Sure, leaving home will be tough, but the route ahead of him may prove tougher—specifically Leg 5, an unpredictable ride through icebergs and nasty weather with the majestic Albatross as your only companion. And though he’ll miss the view of Newport Harbor, he’s sure to catch some outstanding sites along the way.


Here’s a glimpse into next year’s route, straight from the Skipper.


Leg 1: Alicante to Cape Town. You just can’t wait to get this race started. The first couple days tell a lot about the entire race. Are you fast? Are you slow? Lots of butterflies in the tummy.


Leg 2: Cape Town to Abu Ahabi. While racing to Abu Dhabi we leave Somalia to port, Pakistan and Iran to Starboard. What could go wrong?


Leg 3: Abu Ahabi to Sayna. This should be brutal. Upwind nearly all the way in really hot weather. A few gales intermixed with vacuums of no wind. Sounds like a real walk in the park.


Leg 4: Sayna to Auckland. Finally some reaching. Get around the northern end of the Philippines in one piece and it is off to the races. Great sailing through the South Pacific.


Leg 5: Auckland to Itajai. Get out the helmets and cold weather gear. Stay to the north of the icebergs and take a left at Cape Horn. And keep the boat in one piece!


Leg 6: Itajai to Miami. Fantastic sailing once you get into the trades. Almost home. And the Southern Ocean is behind you. Whew!


Leg 7: Miami to Lisbon. A classic fast ride across the Atlantic. This leg is one of the most unpredictable. Really nice (2008-2009) or really bad (2004-2005).


Leg 8: Lisbon to Lorient. It could be a quick sprint to Lorient. But nooo!  Have to go out around the Canary Islands first just to make this race a bit longer.


Leg 9: Lorient to Galway. I hear they have good beer and whiskey in Galway. Look out Ireland. You ain’t seen anything like the finish to a Volvo Ocean Race!