The racetrack for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race, due to start from Alicante in Spain in the autumn of 2011, is now set and the first port of call will be Cape Town, South Africa, making its eighth appearance as host to this premier ocean race.
This marks the beginning of the port announcement process for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 and the rest of the course around the world will be revealed before the end of March.
The Volvo Ocean Race is the only professional sailing event that visits ports around the world and it is a delicate balance to select a track that is not only challenging to sail, but presents an attractive business case for potential sponsors and partners for both the race and the competing teams.
"We have received port bids from many different cities, each with their own cultures, specialities and challenges. We have taken our time to evaluate carefully over 80 bids from ports around the world who wanted to host the event, before making our decisions. As we continue to improve and lift the bar for our stopovers, it is great to have Cape Town onboard sharing the same vision and ambitions," commented Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad.
Leg one at 6,500 nautical miles, which in 2008-09 took the eventual race winner Ericsson 4 21 days, 17 hours and 54 seconds to complete, is one of the longest in the race and historically, the team that wins this leg has gone on to claim the winner's trophy.
For Cape Town, hosting the 11th Volvo Ocean Race and Whitbread will be the biggest event following its hosting of the FIFA World Cup. Over two million tickets have been snapped up for the World Cup, which takes place throughout South Africa in June this year.
The V&A Waterfront will be a perfect place for shore crews to prepare the boats for the next test in the race, and for guests to enjoy the ambience and unique atmosphere this ocean classic generates. However, the stopover will allow little time for rest. There will be a full schedule of sailing ahead of the start of leg two, including the important in-port racing, which counts points towards the overall winner's trophy, as well as pro-am racing.
The European ports of call for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2012, including the finish port will be the next to be announced and the entire route is set to be revealed before the end of March.
Click here for all the news on the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.