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Home > Health & Wellness > Volvo Ocean Race & MSOS

Volvo Ocean Race & MSOS

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 12.20.10The 2017-2018 13th edition of the iconic Volvo Ocean Race began on October 22nd, 7 teams lined up at the start line in Alicante to circumnavigate 45,000nm around the globe as fast as possible. Held every 3 years, pitting the world’s top sailors in Volvo Ocean 65’s against each other, it’s an epic yachting and team challenge spanning 4 oceans that takes the competitors via 12 host cities to some of the remotest corners of the earth. Competition is intense and fierce with many months of preparation on every level taken. Its extreme racing on the grandest scale. The race culminates in The Hague in Holland and will run all the way till June 2018.



The Teams competing this time are:

Team Akzonobel




Sun Hang Kai Skallywag

Turn the Tide on Plastics – Clean Seas

Team Brunel


MSOS continues to provide all levels of medical support including the medical kit on each yacht, medical training for each team and 24/7 telemedical support for the fleet. Dr Spike Briggs, MSOS Medical Director has been Chief Medical Adviser for the last 3 editions, states


Specialised Race Team Medical Kits have been developed for each vessel with an added trauma response module. The kits are designed to handle every day issues from skin lesions & abrasions to occasional and sometimes severe trauma.


Each team participates in comprehensive medical training week sessions with our experienced Doctors and nurses which were recently held in Lisbon and Newcastle Volvo training locations.


Additionally, we provide the essential 24/7 telemedical support for each yacht with a race fleet nurse and remote advice via satellite phone


Things get lively out on the ocean during the VOR. Previous editions have seen all kinds of injuries and some illnesses. Incidents have ranged from a head collision with front dagger board resulting in lost tooth to an infected leg that swelled up, broken ankles, dislocated shoulders, back and disc impacts, daily continual hand skin lesions and infected abrasions. On one occasion, an emergency evacuation had to be organised for a blocked bowel issue which could have resulted in a severe illness. The sailors get battered and bruised by extreme weather conditions in the deep southern oceans. Suturing wounds are a regular event. Sunburn and extreme cold out on deck and burns down below in the galley are commonplace and all manner of infections to eyes, ears and respiratory tracts as well as gut (constipation & diarrhoea) issues present themselves and don’t forget seasickness. If a dismasting occurs or a yacht runs aground all manner of medical injury chaos can ensue. It truly is life on the edge for months on end at sea.


We will be following the competition and progress of each yacht with excitement and anticipation and of course patching and bandaging the battered sailors along the way. Fingers crossed for safe passage but we are well prepared in case a serious medical emergency occurs. I’ll report back with regular updates throughout the competition.

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Nick Stael von Holstein nick@msos.org.uk