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9 February 2004, 12:19 pm
Gothenburg To Host Start
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Volvo Baltic Race

In a change from last year, the start for the second edition of the event will be Gothenburg in Sweden and the event will continue, via Copenhagen (Denmark), Kiel and Warnemünde (Germany), to the finish at Sandhamn (Sweden).
During the 19-day event, the fleet will participate in Kieler Woche and the Round Gotland Race. The series will include several inshore/in-port races and a pit stop in Warnemunde. As with the inaugural event, the Volvo Baltic Race features offshore sailing at the highest level. The success of the first event has ensured that the reputation of the race has spread among professional sailors, and many are hoping to take part.

"Volvo has very quickly become perhaps the most important and long-term player in ocean racing, and with the Volvo Baltic Race it has neatly bridged the gap between Volvo Ocean Races. Many have tried this before, but none have succeeded," says Gurra KRANTZ, owner of the winning yacht in last year's Volvo Baltic Race and Whitbread/Volvo veteran.

The first two entries to return to the event are Sony Ericsson and Elanders AB, who both took part in the first series.

Britain's Matthew HUMPHRIES, who, along with Ross FIELD runs Ocean Sport Management, intends to race again in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2005-2006. Humphries' preparation for the global event incorporates the Volvo Baltic Race into the strategy. His team, which was narrowly beaten in last year's Volvo Baltic Race, is one of the favourites to win this year's trophy. "It was really dramatic, with storm-force winds and speeds over 30 knots," he said, describing conditions in last year's event and adding, "It was one the most enjoyable and toughest yacht races I have ever taken part in."

Humphries has secured funding from Elanders AB, a European info-media company, and will put together a highly competitive team for the Volvo Baltic Race. Elanders took part in the inaugural event with Sweden's Hans WALLEN in charge, but, racing an older boat, the team was less competitive, finishing fourth. This summer they intend to race a generation three VO60 with a view to winning the event.

Christina THULIN, marketing executive for Elanders said, "It was very successful for us to be the project last year. This year our ambitions are much higher and we have made an early commitment. We will use our time to prepare a winning team."

Sweden's Thomas BLIXT will be back again with Sony Ericsson. Racing the generation three boat, Assa Abloy, with budget for new sails and gear, Blixt says he has the budget to put together a winning team.

There are changes ashore as well as out on the racetrack. In Gothenburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm there will be large leisure areas with restaurants, bars, a live stage and giant-screen TVs, which, in addition to sailing, will also show Sweden's football matches against Italy and Denmark in the European Cup.

Preliminary timetable:

Registration at race village opens: 17 June, Gothenburg

Start 1 Short coastal course: 19 June, Gothenburg
Start 2 for Copenhagen: 20 June, Gothenburg
Leg finish at Race Village Nyhamn: 21 June, Copenhagen
Start 3 for Kiel: 23 June, Copenhagen
Leg finishes during Kiel Week 24 June, Kiel
Start 4 for Warnemümde: 25 June, Kiel
Start 5 for Sandhamn 27 June, Warnemünde
Finish: 29 June, Sandhamn
Parade of Sail in Stockholm: 1-3 July, Stockholm
Start 6 Round Gotland Race: 4 July, Sandhamn
Final race: 7 July, Sandhamn
Lizzie Green (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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