His Majesty King Juan Carlos I has expressed to Volvo Ocean Race chief executive, Glenn BOURKE, his desire to race onboard one of the new Volvo Open 70s during the in-port race which will kick off the Volvo Ocean Race in Sanxenxo, Galicia, on November 5,
The King is extremely supportive of the Volvo Ocean Race and delighted that Galicia has been chosen to host the start of the event. He is an avid sailor himself, and is often seen at the helm of his IMS race boat Bribrón. He was recently a competitor in the Admiral's Cup raced in the Solent's challenging waters, where the Spanish team finished a narrow second. Two of the King's three children are also world-class sailors, his son H.R.H. Felipe de Borbón, Prince of Asturias, sailed for Spain in the 1992 Olympic Games as the middle-man in a Soling and his daughter, H.R.H. Infanta Doña Christina was a member of the Spanish Olympic squad in the 470 dinghy.
His Majesty, an approachable and affable character, is one of three royals (King Harald of Norway and ex King Constantine of Greece - himself an Olympic gold medallist) known for their love of grand prix yacht racing.
Also at the reception was Pilar Rojo, Volunteer, Sports, Youth and Family Minister (Xunta - Galician Government). The Minister, expressed to His Royal Highness, the satisfaction Galicia felt after being elected on November 12 to host the start this major event, a bid that was backed from the first moment by the Galician government. She also explained the growing expectations that the Galician community has towards hosting the race, the tourism opportunities and the prestige that Galicia feels in being associated with this grand prix event.
Pedro CAMPOS was also at the Palace. Pedro heads the first Spanish team to compete in the race since Galicia '93 Pescanova finished 3rd in the 1993-94 edition. Campos' team has the leading Spanish telecoms company Telefónica, as the major sponsor of the syndicate with additional funding coming from other companies and the Galician Government. Campos commented: "All athletes have to be thankful to His Royal Highness and the Royal Family for continuously supporting Spanish sports. Today we have had the opportunity to thank them personally, on behalf of all the people of Galicia and the Volvo Ocean Race organisation, for the inestimable support that they have granted to an event that will very much benefit Spain and Galicia".
Andrés PADILLA, president Penta España, German LÓPEZ MADRID, president Volvo Car España, S.A. and Stephane de CREISQUER, President Volvo Truck España, S.A. also attended.