IWC & the Yacht Club Chrono VOR
Established by the Whitbread Company in 1973 as a yacht race that consisted of 17 vessels and over 27,000 nautical miles, the competition circled the globe along the same routes once used by 19th century square-rigged cargo ships. This contest has evolved into what is now the Volvo Ocean Race. With the kick-off of the 2011-2012 race IWC, the Schaffhausen based timepiece manufacturer, has released an updated version of their Yacht Club Chronograph as part of the famed Portuguese Family of watches. Engineered for those at the helm, the Yacht Club Chronograph Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 Edition couples IWC’s sophistication with seafaring function and quality. Released specifically for this year’s event, it features and updated carbon dial and a customized engraved titanium case, while maintaining all the form, function and precision of its predecessor.
As with any race, time is everything and IWC has joined this year’s oceanic challenge three-fold in a collaboration that couldn’t make more sense. In addition to the release of their new timepiece, IWC is also the official sponsor of team Abu Dhabi, the first ever Arab challenger. Aboard their all black American designed yacht, Azzam, team Abu Dhabi is a favorite amongst the competition. And in what is probably the most fitting of moves, IWC was appropriately chosen as the official timekeeper of the race. Their watch will report the time of record and award the crew with the fastest 24-hours, a new Yacht Club Chronograph at the finale of the event. Not a bad incentive.
To commemorate the launch of their limited edition Yacht Club Chrono and the start of the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race, IWC took to the seas. Amidst some early poor weather, we suited up with chronos in tow and departed from Alicante in the south of Spain (also the starting point for the ocean race) aboard Rothmans, an older racing yacht. Manned by a crew of Swedish sailors, we all raised and lowered the sails until the clouds broke for what would be perfect conditions just off the Iberian coast. Towards the end of the day, we dropped sail to watch the finale of the first in-port race and to see the IWC sponsored team Abu Dhabi in action. They ended up finishing first. Sailing aboard a professional racing yacht and watching the in-port race from a seaside vantage point were quite an experience, both the Yacht Club Chronograph and Volvo Ocean Race did not disappoint.
For those unfamiliar, the Volvo Ocean Race is arguably the most intense sporting event on the plant, and I don’t say that because of my bias for sailing. Held every three years, it spans just over nine months, where each crew of 11 circumnavigates the globe, traveling some 39,000 nautical miles. Preparations for each race last roughly 18-months, where a crew is selected and a race-worthy craft is designed and built. With only ten ports of call along route, the crews are battered amidst some of the toughest seas and weather the world over, testing both physical and mental limits. The most common description has been, the Everest of sailing, not a small feat. It’s safe to say, you’d be hard pressed to find another event that encompasses all that the Volvo Ocean Race does.
Azzam standing tall.
The wolf pack.