Saturday, September 3, 2011

Revvin' Up The Volvo

After a decade in the doldrums of blue ocean racing, Auckland yachties are looking forward to the City Of Sails anchoring the world's largest sailing event.
March 2012's stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race, earlier named the Whitbread, will be the eighth time the race has come to Auckland. This is the 11th race in the event, first held in 1973/74.
NZ challenger Camper
Auckland used to be an automatic choice as a stopover but in the past three events, organisers experimented by choosing Wellington and Melbourne - or in the last race, no Australasian stopover at all. The last Auckland stopover was during the 2001-02 race, although there was a 48hr pitstop in Wgtn in 2005-06.
Viaduct Harbour will get a race village makeover for the stop, with Latitude Island being the entertainment hub. A pit lane by the Viaduct Events Centre will allow audiences to see the fleet up close and watch teams prepare for the next leg.
This ain't pleasure-boating...!
The nine-leg race starts in Alicante (Spain) at the end of next month on October 29th., with stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Sanya (China), Auckland (March 8-18 2012), Itajai (Brazil), Miami (United States), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France) with the finish in Galway (Ireland) on July 1st. Each stopover features an in-port race, with points counting towards the overall standings, and a pro-am race.
March 8: Boats scheduled to arrive in Auckland at end of Leg 4
March 16: Pro-Am Race
March 17: In-Port Race
March 18: Start of Leg 5 to Brazil
Thankfully we won't be bombarded with 18 months of pre-stopover jingoistic advertising, and can actually enjoy the event for what it is...rather than what the country can mercilessly milk out of it!

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