The Volvo Ocean Race doesn’t follow most sporting conventions. Crew members often hail from countries other than the nation sponsoring their boat, and it isn’t necessarily a single nation doing the sponsoring. Alvimedica flies both the American and Turkish flags, and has a mostly American crew. Vestas is sponsored by a Danish wind energy company and is helmed by an Australian. Throughout the racing, crews devote nine months of their lives to the often-treacherous pursuit of a victory that offers no financial reward Yet at stake is tremendous pride. Unlike the America’s Cup—to some extent a test of which yacht costs the most to build—the seven Volvo teams are all competing in essentially the same 65-foot sailing boat, making it a true test of skill. It is also a test of sportsmanship. A basic rule of the sport and of the Volvo race: Never leave a competitor in danger. In the 2006 installment of the Volvo Race—a competition, dating to 1973, that takes place every three years—the crew of the ABN Amro 2 sailed off-course to rescue sailors on the sinking Movistar.


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