The Volvo Ocean Race will give sports fans an extra Christmas present in 2017 after adding Melbourne to the route for the forthcoming edition starting in October.
The change to the 2017-18 route, announced on Friday morning in Melbourne, means the Race will visit Australia for the eighth time – but for the first in more than a decade.
With what will be a compressed stopover, Melbourne fits between Cape Town and Hong Kong, and completes a 45,000-nautical mile route that will see the teams cover three times as many miles in the Southern Ocean as in previous editions.
Cape Town to Melbourne will now make up Leg 3 of the race – a double-point scoring, 6,300-nautical mile leg. Melbourne will host a week-long stopover, but no In-Port Race, before the fleet leaves on Leg 4 to Hong Kong.
According to projections, the one-design Volvo Ocean 65 fleet will arrive around Christmas Day – meaning an extra reason to celebrate in the state capital of Victoria.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren commented: “The Volvo Ocean Race is another chance for Victorians to see some of the world’s best sailing teams in action. Major events are fantastic for the entire visitor economy – they keep our restaurants and hotels full and our shopping precincts bustling.
He concluded: “The Victorian Government is proud to work with a range of dedicated partners to support this stand out sailing event.”
Australia’s history with the Volvo Ocean Race goes all the way back to the first edition in 1973-74 and, in total, Australia has hosted the race seven times. The race first came to Melbourne in 2005-06 and now returns for a second time. “We’re delighted to be visiting Melbourne again – a vibrant city of sport and culture with a strong maritime heritage,” said Volvo Ocean Race COO, Richard Mason.
“Having been born in Australia myself, I couldn’t be more excited to see the race head Down Under, and I know that sailing fans across the nation will be full of excitement to see the boats and sailors for themselves.”
The full route now features a total of 10 legs taking in 12 landmark Host Cities on six continents. The teams will leave Alicante, Spain on 22 October and race on to Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne and Hong Kong before a non-scoring transition to Guangzhou in China.
After a stopover in Guangzhou that will include a race in the tie-breaking and potentially decisive In-Port Series, the ocean legs will resume from Hong Kong before stopping in Itajaí, Brazil, Newport, Rhode Island, Cardiff and Gothenburg, before the big finish in the Dutch city of The Hague.
The two Southern Ocean legs – from Cape Town to Melbourne, and Auckland to Itajaí – plus the North Atlantic leg near the end of the race, Newport to Cardiff – will all score double points. The longest leg of the 45,000-nautical mile lap of the planet will now be the 7,600-nautical mile leg from Auckland to Itajaí.
The Volvo Ocean Race recently announced a series of major changes to the rules of the 43-year-old classic adventure, including a major incentive for teams to compete with mixed male-female crews.
The addition of the Melbourne stopover means the race has locked in dates across the whole 2017-18 route. The key dates are as follows:
Alicante Race Village opens – 11 October 2017
Alicante In-Port Race – 14 October 2017
Leg 1 Start – 22 October 2017
Lisbon In-Port Race – 28 October 2017
Leg 2 Start – 5 November 2017
Cape Town In-Port Race – 8 December 2017
Leg 3 Start – 10 December 2017
Melbourne Leg 4 Start – 2 January 2018
Hong Kong In-Port Race – 27 January 2018
Guangzhou In-Port Race – 4 February 2018
Leg 5 Start – 7 February 2018
Auckland In-Port Race – 10 March 2018
Leg 6 Start – 18 March 2018
This news article was published on: www.Shipmate.com.au