The long-awaited news that Boston would replace Baltimore as the port of call was announced at a ceremony in the city to introduce the Boston-based entry for the world's premier offshore ocean race which begins in Alicante, Spain, in October 2008.
The USA entry will be skippered by top American sailor Ken READ and sponsored by the global sport lifestyle company PUMA which has its North American and international brand headquarters in the historic US city, where billions of dollars have been spent on reclaiming the harbour under its Save the Harbour/Save the Port project.
PUMA Global introduced READ, the training boat and the PUMA Racing Team at a function in the Boston Harbour Hotel attended by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, PUMA CEO Jochen ZEITZ, Volvo Ocean Race CEO Glenn BOURKE, Save the Harbour President Patricia A. FOLEY, and Secretary Daniel O'CONNELL of Massachusetts.
BOURKE said that the confirmation of Boston as a host port was a welcome addition to the new ground-breaking route which includes the Middle East and Asia for the first time in the race's 34-year history.
'Boston has a proud association with international sailing and sailors. There has been great enthusiasm from everyone involved in making the Boston stopover happen. I fully expect that Boston will put on a tremendous show when the race comes to town,' he said.
'It's also a major fillip for the Volvo Ocean Race and the sport of sailing to have involvement from an iconic global consumer brand such as PUMA,' he added.
'There is definitely synergy between us - the Volvo Ocean Race leads the way on advanced design with the Volvo Open 70, while PUMA brings great energy and creativity to the design of their sports lifestyle products,' BOURKE said.
PUMA officials have worked closely with the local government in Boston to help bring the Volvo Ocean Race to the city.
City of Boston Mayor, Thomas M. MENINO said, 'We are delighted that Boston has been selected as the only North American stopover for the 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race.
'World Class events like this, with great partners like PUMA, Volvo and Save the Harbour/Save the Bay give folks from our neighbourhoods and visitors from across the region and around the world another reason to rediscover all that Boston Harbour and waterfront have to offer.'
Two weeks of festivals and local events are planned during mid-May 2009, to celebrate the arrival and departure of the Volvo Ocean Race, Boston's maritime history and the sport of sailing.
A point-scoring in-port race will be held in Boston Harbour if the wind is in a favourable direction. Alternatively the race will be held just outside the harbour.
A pro-am race, which takes place in every host port the day after the in-port race, will be held inside the harbour with racing close by to Fan Pier and Rowes Wharf. The pro-am race is not a points scoring race and does not have a set course enabling it to be tailored to suit each venue and making it a close-to-shore spectator event.
Every boat in the Volvo fleet will take part, and will be sailed by half its normal race crew, with the remainder being made up of specially invited guests.
At the ceremony in Boston, PUMA Racing Team unveiled its colours on the newly-painted training boat, the former ABN AMRO TWO. 'This is a special day as we introduce our PUMA Racing Team and unveil the colours of our boat in this wonderful setting of Boston Harbour,' said Jochen ZEITZ, CEO and Chairman, PUMA AG. 'We are extremely pleased that the City of Boston, the State of Massachusetts and Save the Harbour are welcoming the Volvo Ocean Race as an official port of call and, as a company, we are proud to be able to call Boston the home of our North American and international brand headquarters for more than a decade.'
FOLEY, President, Save the Harbour/Save the Bay said, 'With billions of public dollars invested in the Boston Harbour Clean-up and the Big Dig, and billions more invested in new waterfront development, we are looking forward to the fantastic opportunity that this stopover will provide to share the harbour with Bostonians, regional residents and visitors from around the world.'
'The Volvo Ocean Race is about the power of the sea, the wind, and the sun - and the power of people with the courage to follow their dreams,' she continued. 'It will provide us with a unique platform to share the message that clean water matters, and that people with the courage of their convictions can make the planet a better place.'
PUMA announced its entry into the Volvo Ocean Race in late March. Skipper READ was on-hand for the unveiling of the boat, after bringing her up to Boston from her training base in Newport, Rhode Island.
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.
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