The Volvo Baltic Race will be back again in the summer of 2004, with a new look to the race-track and an even bigger and better infrastructure. Sponsors of the event will once again be Volvo and SEB.
The 2004 event will start in Gothenburg on 19 June, with a pit stop in Denmark and a stopover in Germany, before finishing in Sandhamn with the final prize giving being held in Stockholm on 8 July.
Once again, the Volvo Baltic Race will provide a challenging mix of inshore and offshore racing in the VO60 yachts formerly raced in the Volvo Ocean Race. The event promises to be one of 2004's biggest regattas, during which the fleet will take part in Kieler Woche and the Accenture Round Gotland Race as well as several windward/leeward courses, which will be very interesting for the public to watch.
Volvo Ocean Race veteran, Sweden's Gurra KRANTZ, who put together the winning crew of Team RS in last summer's race, says: "The Volvo Baltic Race was a really thorough competition requiring a huge effort from the crew. We won the event and if we can put together a really good team, we will try and do so again next year."
Britain's Matt HUMPHRIES, also a veteran of many round the world races, and beaten in to second place in this event by just half a point, had this to say: "It was a fantastic race that exceeded all expectations. To finish second was good, but next year our only focus will be on winning. Considering the high level of the teams participating in the event, this will be the yacht race to win next year."
During the Volvo Baltic Race, spectators and sailing fans will have a greater opportunity to see these boats, which have raced around the world. It is an opportunity usually only seen during the stopovers of the Volvo Ocean Race, which is held every four years. The event makes offshore racing more accessible to the general public and also gives sailors a possibility to compete in a mixture of offshore and inshore events prior to taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race itself.
Patrik MEHKS, project manager and director of marketing at Viamare, the Swedish company which organises the event says: "The response from the race this summer has been overwhelming; from sponsors, the public and the media. The competition was a huge success with an even fight right the way to the finish line in Marstrand. It has made skippers and sponsors call us and demand another event."
Volvo - Volvo Car Corporation and AB Volvo - are the title sponsors for the event, building on their already global portfolio of sailing events. SEB will be the trophy sponsor and will utilise the event in building customer relationships and brand building will be managing the racing.