Spain makes history today as Vigo, in the northwest region of Galicia, has been chosen to host the start of the Volvo Ocean Race on November 12, 2005.
But it continues tradition by also confirming that it will take part in the event by entering a team in the race.
The major sponsor of the syndicate is Telefónica, the leading Spanish telecoms company, with additional funding coming from other companies and the Galician Government.
Telefónica is not new to the sailing world and, by providing funding, the company moves up to a new level in sailing sponsorship. In addition to its other sponsorships including Formula 1, Telefónica has been supporting former America's Cup skipper Pedro Campos with his IMS race boat campaigns for several seasons.
Pedro CAMPOS, head of the new syndicate said, "We're in this to win. Spain has along history of successful offshore racing. The new format of the Volvo Ocean Race has created an exciting challenge for everyone and it is one that we want to be part of."
Campos and his team start with the bonus of knowing that these same waters were, in the recent past, chosen by John Kostecki's Illbruck Challenge and Grant Dalton's Amer Sports, who finished first and third in the last edition of the race, for their training bases.
This is the first time that the round the world race, first staged in 1973, has started outside Britain, although a stopover in the UK is planned in the spring of 2006.
The whole region, including the towns of Baiona and La Coruna, will be involved with welcoming the Volvo Ocean Race fleet as the city of Vigo will host the start of the first leg to Cape Town, while the neighbouring city of Sanxenxo will both be home to yachts and crews as they assemble and the venue for the in port racing, which now forms part of the event and will be held on November 5, 2005.
The fleet will be challenged immediately by racing straight out into the Atlantic Ocean, which will provide an exciting first leg towards the first scoring gate at Ilha de Noronha on the Brazilian coast before finishing in Cape Town, South Africa in early December.
Glenn Bourke, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race said, "The case made to us by the Galician government was so strong and persuasive that we had no hesitation in bringing our event to the region and we look forward to them providing a fantastic start to the event. "
Pilar Rojo, the Minister of Family and Sports for the Xunta (the Galician government)added, "We are delighted that Galicia has been chosen to host the start of the world's premier ocean race. This event will take the region of Galicia to the world as no other sailing event can. We know that we faced some stiff competition when bidding to host the event, and now that we have been successful, we are very much looking forward to transferring our efforts towards hosting the start and making it the most memorable occasion that we can."