What more is there to said about the endlessly fascinating Volvo Ocean Race?
The images and news that pour in in virtually real time from the boats and crews taking part in the gruelling event make words almost superfluous. The enthralling language used for this event sounds like something straight out of an adventure novel.
But there is one aspect of the race that deserves closer investigation. What we found was that even more than a competitive event, the Volvo Ocean Race is a genuine research laboratory, a test bench for new solutions and materials that will not just make the race itself more spectacular but the boats safer.
Safety has always been one of the cornerstones of the Volvo credo. It was, after all, one of their engineers, Nils Bohlin, who, in 1959, presented the three-point seatbelt to the world for the first time. Almost half a century later, the Swedish company’s progress in the safety arena through the likes of such cutting-edge features as the City Safety, Cross Traffic Alert and Run-off Road systems used in the new XC40, mean it has become the benchmark on the world stage. So it was no coincidence that in 2001/2, Volvo decided to link its name with an event that is so much more than just a sailing competition.
The 2017/8 edition looks set to be particularly significant too with sustainability one of the key words. During the race, the crews will also be tasked with gathering information on factors such as salinity, dissolved CO2 and algae levels in the oceans they traverse.
This data will help create a more exhaustive picture of plastic-related pollution and its impact on ocean life. It is but a short step from sea to road, however. Here too, Volvo’s commitment is unstinting. This year, in fact, the Swedish marque announced that it will be producing only hybrid and electric cars from 2019. A truly ground-breaking move that will see technological innovation truly serve sustainability.