New route for 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race


Kiwi tourist numbers are expected to receive a further boost with the announcement of a new route for the Volvo Ocean Race.

New route for 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race
One of the toughest competitions in the world

The Volvo Ocean Race is regarded as one of the toughest and most prestigious sporting competitions in the world. No other event tests people and equipment more extremely or requires such a combination of individual skill, team work, engineering excellence, technological capability and pure guts.

Coby Duggan, Volvo NZ national manager, says the new 2017-2018 route will push the 65 foot high-performance yachts and their crews to their ultimate limit during the nine-month around-the-world race.

"The enhanced course is expected to further increase the interest in the global event - which is great news for New Zealand tourism numbers as one of the host countries," says Duggan.

The new route will be the longest race ever at over 45,000 nautical miles, across four oceans and take in 11 major cities on five continents. This year, around 12,500 nautical miles of the race will be in the Southern Ocean, the fast-moving, ice cold waters around the Antarctic where, unhindered by land, some of the deepest weather depressions generate giant waves and heavy winds that can peak at over 130 km/h.

Duggan says for Volvo, the race not only celebrates a common set of values, but also offers an opportunity to take its brand on a global road show, introducing its cars to an audience on five continents. The race is about is about 9 months long and will touch down in numerous ports globally.

Director of Operations for the race Richard Mason says over 2.3 million visitors were welcomed and over 70,000 corporate guests hosted at city venues during the last event.
"We’re determined to offer even more exciting sailing in 2017-18, while making the race village experience even better for our fans, guests and partners," says Mason.

The 43-year-old race will start from Alicante in late 2017 with a 700-nautical mile (nm) sprint to Lisbon, Portugal. From the Portuguese capital, the fleet will plunge south towards Cape Town, South Africa, before an epic few weeks racing through the Southern Ocean and then back north across the equator to Hong Kong.

After a non-scoring transition to Guangzhou, China where an in-port race and full set of stopover activities will be held, the ocean racing will resume from Hong Kong to Auckland. The fleet will then head back through the Southern Ocean, around the most famous landmark of them all, Cape Horn, and up through the Atlantic Ocean to the southern Brazilian city of Itajaí.

From there, as in the last edition, the boats will head back into the northern hemisphere to the Eastern seaboard of the USA, Newport, Rhode Island before a blast across the North Atlantic on the blue riband transatlantic leg, which will see them make a first return to British shores in 12 years.

The fleet will arrive in Cardiff, capital city of Wales, in May 2018, before beating its way around the top of the British Isles on a short but potentially brutal leg to the penultimate stopover in Gothenburg, Sweden. The 2017-18 race will end with a grand finale into The Hague, Netherlands.

"More action, more speed, more tough miles and more host venues, but a shorter race – it’s an evolution in the right direction and a move that takes the Race closer to its original roots and heritage, while improving its strong commercial value and excellent business case for sponsors," says Mark Turner, who took over as CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race earlier this month.

The Volvo Ocean Race was purchased by AB Volvo, the manufacturer of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines, in 1997. Volvo Car Group was then a part of AB Volvo. Since 1999, when Ford purchased Volvo Car Group, the race has been jointly owned by Volvo Car Group and AB Volvo.

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