At a press conference yesterday, it was announced that Melbourne, Victoria has won the right to host the Volvo Ocean Race in January-February 2006 at the Docklands.
Melbourne, which will be the only stopover in Australia and will also host the Commonwealth Games in March 2006.
Victorian Premier, Steve BRACKS, said; "Hosting one of the world's pinnacle sporting events is a momentous achievement for Victoria. Melbourne has reinforced its reputation as the events capital of Australia by securing this multi-million dollar spectacular."
"The Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 will showcase Melbourne to the world, highlighting the Docklands as a premier port. This will establish Melbourne as a first class sailing city, reputed for its water sports and activities."
"This world-class event has the highest global profile in sailing, with international business tourism and media attention focussed on Melbourne during the time the fleet will be in port."
Mr Bracks said that hosting the only Australian stop over in the Volvo Ocean Race will also bring enormous economic benefit to the State.
"The Docklands waterfront will be the perfect stage to host this prestigious event, which will inject an estimated AUD $26 million into the Victorian economy."
Chairman of the stopover organising company, Victorian Major Events, Steve VIZARD, said; "The 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race is one of the most prestigious and unique events Victoria has secured. Hosting the only stop over in Australia is a significant coup for Melbourne. The Volvo Ocean Race will add a new dimension to Victoria's event calendar by bringing the world's most spectacular global yacht race to a city not traditionally recognised as a sailing city."
Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Glenn BOURKE, who flew in from the UK for the announcement, emphasised that the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race will be even bigger, faster and more spectacular than ever before.
"There will be several significant changes to the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race, highlighting a new age in performance sailing. One of the new features of the race, which will greatly benefit host cities like Melbourne, will be in-port racing. The new race rules outline that these in-port races will now count towards the overall race result",
Mr Bourke said.
"This will ensure that whilst the yachts are in port, spectators and media will be able to see these grand prix yachts and elite crews in full action. The ability to see these yachts first hand and close up will provide an even more exciting and engaging atmosphere for the public."
Volvo Car Corporation and AB Volvo purchased the event in 1998, renaming it the Volvo Ocean Race. Managing Director of Volvo Cars Australia, Steven BLYTH, said; "Few sports can embrace the Volvo corporate values of quality, safety and environmental care in the same way as the sport of sailing does."
Waterfront City Holdings, a joint venture between ING Real Estate Development Australia and the Land Lewis Group of Companies, has secured sponsorship of the Melbourne stopover.
Mark BROOMFIELD, MD of ING Real Estate Development Australia said with the opening of Waterfront City scheduled for November 2005, the new Docklands precinct would be perfectly positioned to host the event and showcase it to the world.
The Volvo Ocean Race will start in November 2005 from the Mediterranean.