Natural beauty in the middle of the ocean

Volvo Ocean Race takes boats across open seas – and while there’s no land, there’s plenty to see.
Team Alvimedica watching the weather.
Hey, flipper © Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind
By Evan David

On October 11, seven sailing teams set out from Alicante, Spain for Capetown, South Africa, in the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. When you cross approximately 7,000 nautical miles of ocean, you're bound to see a few things – from storms to sunsets, bottle-nose dolphins to birds. We rounded up our 10 favourite on-the-water and on-the-boat scenes from the first leg to show the stunning scenes the sailor enjoy during their epic voyage. Check 'em out below.

Need to know more about the Volvo Ocean Race? Check out this preview. Want to get the latest from the race? Watch the most recent episode on!

Dolphin diving
(Photo above) With glassy water and light wind, it's easy to spot dolphins, especially as the curious creatures often follow the boats for kilometres at a time.

Watching the weather
Ocean racing is about keeping a constant eye on the weather. Team Alvimedica preps for a coming storm.

Team Alvimedica watching the weather.
Team Alvimedica checks the weather © Amory Ross / TEAM ALVIMEDICA

Boat bird
A swallow takes a rest on board the Team SCA boat. No word on how far said swallow had to fly from land but the real question is this: is it an African Swallow or a European Swallow?

A swallow taking a rest onboard.
You guys got any breadcrumbs? Anything? © Corinna Halloran/Team SCA

Running from the storm
When a cloud like that is headed your way, it's generally a good idea to get away from it – as quickly as possible!

Brad Jackson watching a storm cloud.
Ericsson 4's Brad Jackson watches a storm cloud © Guy Salter/Ericsson 4/Volvo Ocean

Now that's the wave
Team Alvimedica takes a big wave right over the bow while training on a transatlantic crossing. Just because these are big boats, doesn't mean it's not a wet ride.

Team Alvimedica training for the Volvo Ocean Race.
A wave breaks over the deck of Team Alvimedica © Amory Ross/TEAM ALVIMEDICA

Are those... motorcycle helmets?
Team Vestas keeps the spray out of their eyes with visored helmets. In big seas with rough winds, spray over the deck is a constant reality. Maybe that's why they call it 'beating' upwind.

Team Vestas Wind conquering the stormy sea.
Team Vestas, during a morning storm © Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind/Volvo Ocean Race

Spotting the sunset
Gerd-Jan Poortman works a sail as the sun sets on the horizon. Even though the sun goes down, the sails don't – the boats will keep racing through the night.

Gerd-Jan Poortman working on a sail onboard Team Brunel.
Gerd-Jan Poortman working on a sail during sunset © Stefan Coppers/Team Brunel/Volvo Ocean Race

...and seeing the sun rise
Team Vestas sees the sun rise on their first morning at sea. There will be many, many more.

Team Vestas Wind sailing on day two of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Sunset on the second day of racing © Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind/Volvo Ocean Race

The ocean is a lonely place
Yes, there's a boat in this picture – look closely at the horizon. While the boats may appear to be relatively close to each other on the tracking map, in reality, they're not at all.

Team Vestas Wind sailing during day 8 at the Volvo Ocean Race.
Team Vestas beyond the waves © Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind/Volvo Ocean Race

Stormy Spanish seas
The Dongfeng racing team in a stiff breeze on the Spanish seas during the first day of racing.

Dongfeng Race Team sailing across the spanish sea.
Sailing in the storm © Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind/Volvo Ocean Race

Did you know you can see more of the Volvo Ocean Race on Check it out.

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