Looking back on favorite memories, the connections made with fans, AkzoNobel customers, employees and communities around the world rate alongside race milestones – such as breaking the race record for distance sailed in 24 hours (602.51 nautical miles), achieving six top-three finishes and one leg win, and ultimately finishing fourth overall.
"Through all the race highs and lows, our team stayed focused on winning together and improving the boat's performance leg after leg," said Nicolai Sehested, team AkzoNobel boat captain. "The entire race experience from stopover to stopover was incredible, more than we could have hoped for."
Guest activities at stopovers included boat tours, sailing experiences, boatyard, and race village tours and hospitality. Team AkzoNobel hosted over 2,000 corporate guests, staged 12 employee events at stopovers and held three beach clean-ups in Cape Town, South Africa; Auckland, New Zealand; and the home base of Scheveningen.
"The team is overcome with gratitude upon leaving Scheveningen, which has been our second home for the past two years," said Nathalie Quere, team AkzoNobel campaign director. "We appreciate the warm welcome from the city of The Hague, which made preparation and training for the Volvo Ocean Race possible. And what a way to finish, in our own home port."
All race boats in the 2017-18 edition were coated in AkzoNobel products. In total 7,000 liters of International and Awlgrip brand paints were used throughout the race, including 26 specially developed custom colors. Additionally, the Awlgrip brand launch in Brazil coincided with the Itajaí stopover, giving the local yacht market its first peek at the products in action.
"The race boats experience the harshest conditions where anything can happen. They need to perform and they need to look great in the water no matter what,” Quere said. “The world's toughest offshore sailing event is the perfect proving ground for our products and the extensive knowledge of our color and technical experts who cared for the entire fleet."
Team AkzoNobel now heads to the largest regatta of its kind – the Cowes Week regatta Aug. 4 to 11 – to take on the strong double tides on the Solent waters between southern England and the Isle of Wright.