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7 January 2005, 01:00 pm
New Route Partners and New Approach
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5-Oceans Race 2006/07
Great Britain

The Spanish City of Bilbao, in the province of Bizkaia, has won the bid to host the start and finish of the 5-Oceans Race 2006/07. The race will start from the Puerto Deportivo el Abra Getxo, located at the mouth of Bilbao's river, on 5 November 2006, and finish there the following spring.
The City of Bilbao, renowned for the spectacular Guggenheim Museum, and the Diputacion Foral de Bizkaia has committed an investment of €1.5m to host the race. Having recently undergone significant urban regeneration and development, the city will provide an outstanding backdrop for the race. The race will be based in a new marina and waterfront development at the Port of Getxo, which is linked directly to the city by a new Norman Foster designed metro system.

The Bilbao based oceanic sailing company Ocean World, which played a major part in the bid to win the 5-Oceans Race, has been appointed by the City to work with the 5-Oceans Race team and manage the event locally.

Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON, Chairman of race management company Clipper Ventures plc, said: 'We are delighted with the approach, enthusiasm and commitment that the City of Bilbao and the Diputacion Foral de Bizkaia have shown towards hosting the 25th anniversary edition of the 5-Oceans Race. Bilbao has the world class facilities we require and is geographically the perfect location from which to start the race.'

Marcos MURO, Director of Lan Ekintza (Agency for the Employment and Economic promotion of the Ayuntamiento de Bilbao) added: 'The Ayuntamiento de Bilbao will host the 5-Oceans Race 2006/07, with the intention of bringing home one of the world's most prestigious ocean regattas and showing the importance that the sea and the port have had for all of us along our history. Getting involved in this race is a way to confirm the opening of our City and our people to the sea.'

The 5-Oceans Race has already announced a significant investment of $500k from the Government of Western Australia for Fremantle to host the event's first stopover.

The agreements with Bilbao and Fremantle will include building race villages for competitors and spectators, race management and marina facilities, free accommodation for each skipper and up to four shore crew, and of course, the customary local hospitality for competitors, race partners, the media and sponsors.

Leg 2 sees competitors race to a host port on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA, to be announced, and the final leg will be a transatlantic sprint returning to Bilbao in the spring of 2007.

Following the last race, Sir Robin created a unique advisory board, consisting of round the world sailors, sponsors, and media representatives. Following extensive consultation, a series of changes have been made. The race has been rebranded as 'The 5-Oceans Race.' The new name in part, to recognise that solo sailing at this Grand Prix level is a significant team effort between skippers, shore teams, sponsors and event owners, and to signal the new, fresh approach to the event format.

The event will be raced in the Grand Prix IMOCA Open 60 and sister class, the Open 50. The choice of two classes will reduce the overall duration of the race. This, combined with shortening the length of each stopover, will considerably lower the overall cost of entry for each skipper and their sponsors. The additional accommodation and marina package provides further financial benefits for prospective skippers.

Further, GlobalSportnet (GSN), a WPP owned sports marketing company, has been appointed as commercial partner to market and promote the next two events in 2006 and 2010. GSN will be responsible for signing sponsors and ensuring that race stakeholders benefit from global exposure through regular news feeds, PR and programme distribution. In addition, their support includes pioneering broadband TV coverage over the internet and distributing documentary style programming on the story each skipper has to tell.

Loretta Spridgeon (As Amended by ISAF)
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