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18 May 2007, 02:32 pm
Galway Confirmed As Irish Port Stopover
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Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09

The west coast Irish port of Galway will be the stopover for the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race following the Irish Government's announcement this week that it had agreed to make funding available to help bring the race to Ireland for the first time.
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Race organizers welcomed the Irish commitment of up to 8 million Euros to secure the stopover.

Negotiations have been under way since late last year with a Galway-based group, 'Let's Do It Ireland', and the Irish Government tourist agency, Forge Ireland, aimed at making one of Ireland's fastest growing cities the first European port of call.

'This is great news for the race and a just reward for the enthusiasm and commitment shown by Galway,' said Glenn BOURKE, the Volvo Ocean Race CEO. 'Everyone will be looking forward to the famous Irish hospitality and craic [fun] when the boats arrive after a high-speed dash from the US port of Boston.'

John KILLEEN, Chairman of 'Let's Do It Ireland', was in no doubt that the world's premier offshore ocean race would bring huge benefits to the Galway region.

'It will not only bring benefits to the local economy and to the tourism industry but it will also spur development of the infrastructure of the port,' he said.

The race has consistently reaped economic benefits running to millions of Euros for the ports of call. The 2005-06 start from Vigo in northwestern Spain generated 61 million Euros for the Galicia region, according to a Deloitte's report on economic impact.

Historic Connection

Both Boston and Galway have been excited by the historic connection linking the two cities. 'Our association with Boston is phenomenal,' said KILLEEN. 'A number of Boston companies have their European headquarters here. We have already been in contact with Boston and they have been eagerly awaiting this decision.'

David BADDELEY, Managing Director of Volvo Cars Ireland, added, 'This is clearly fantastic news for Ireland and is the conclusion of a lot of hard work behind the scenes by the team in Galway.

'Volvo has been involved in the Irish sailing scene over many years, but the Volvo Ocean Race coming to Galway just takes this involvement into a different league.'

Race organizers are predicting a possible 24-hour speed record between Boston and Galway as the boats race along the Gulf Stream in the late spring of 2009.

The record was broken in the Southern Ocean during the 2001-02 race when ABN AMRO TWO smashed the record with a stunning 563 nautical miles on the second leg from Cape Town to Melbourne.

Economic Impact

In announcing the 8 million Euro funding, Arts, Sports and Tourism Minister John O'DONOGHUE, said in a press release that independent analysis of the potential benefits of the race showed a significant economic impact on the local West of Ireland region and for Ireland as a whole.

'I am very pleased to be able to put the support of the Government behind the Galway bid,' O'DONOGHUE added.

In the past month, port stopovers have now been confirmed in Galway, Boston, India and China.

This week Valencia's regional government confirmed the participation of two Spanish entries in the race bringing the number of confirmed entries to five. The others are Mean Machine (The Netherlands), Ericsson (Sweden) and PUMA (USA).

About The Race

The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 will be the tenth running of this famous ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante, it will for the first time, take in ports in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, China and India. Spanning some 39,000 nautical miles, 8,000 more than the previous edition in 2005-06, it will stop at around 11 ports and take more than nine months to complete.

The Volvo Ocean Race is an ISAF Special Event. For more information on the Volvo Ocean Race, the Volvo Open 70 and the teams competing, visit the official Volvo Ocean Race website - www.volvooceanrace.org.

For a complete list of all the news about the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 CLICK HERE.

Lizzie Ward (As Amended By ISAF)
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