The Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town Race Village is officially open – after an unforgettable ceremony on Friday.
A host of dignitaries from the city joined local performers, dance groups (and Volvo Ocean Race mascot Wisdom the Albatross) to mark the special occasion – with the ribbon cutting performed by the City of Cape Town’s Cllr Eddie Andrews.
It is the 11th time in 13 editions that the Race has visited the South African city, known as the ‘Gateway to the Southern Ocean’, and crowds flooded into the V&A Waterfront to mark the occasion.
Welcoming the fleet to Cape Town V&A Waterfront CEO, David Green noted that the event is expected to contribute around R500 Million and 35 000 bed nights to the city’s economy.
The city was the first stop in the first ever edition of the Race, then known as the Whitbread Round the World Race – and has been a welcome stop for the boats competing in the toughest test of a team in professional sport ever since.
The Volvo Ocean 65 fleet has almost completed the 7,000 nautical mile race from Lisbon, Portugal, and is expected to begin arriving at around 1700 local time on Friday, with the arrivals set to take place over the following 36 hours through to the early hours of Sunday morning.
On arrival, the boats will be hauled out of the water for a full check by the Boatyard – their last scheduled tune-up before arriving in Auckland in February 2018.
The Spanish-flagged MAPFRE team is leading the charge into the Cape Town, with Dongfeng Race Team and Vestas 11th Hour Racing chasing the podium.
“We haven’t finished the job, but it’s looking pretty good,” said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández this morning. “Hopefully we can finish like this. All the crew is very happy, it’s been a very tough few days… But now we just need to keep sailing to the finish.”
The current ETA for the leading boat is mid-afternoon UTC, with a four-hour spread to the third place boat.
WHY? It is a little known fact that Port Elizabeth has been approached TWICE to bid on becoming a stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race – the first attempt was stopped by our local Port Authorities and we await the outcome of the second. The home of Volvo Cars is Gothenburg – the second-largest city in Sweden which is twinned with Nelson Mandela Bay and which has provided incredible support and promotion for our Metropole.
MyPE is running a series of articles about the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race to: 1. Acknowledge and thank Gothenburg for their support, 2. Showcase a sport that Alan Straton is passionate about, 3. Demonstrate to citizens of Port Elizabeth just how much exposure a city like Cape Town receives from the VOR and 4. As a gentle reminder to the TNPA and our city of the great value that such an event can bring to our city.
The start city of the VOR – Alicante, Spain – estimates the economic value of each leg to be R960 Million. Click here to read very Volvo Ocean Race published on MyPE.
The local Algoa Bay Yacht Club has hosted many international sailing regattas, the most recent being the 60th 5O5 World Championships and, along with requests from the Volvo Ocean Race, have also recently been asked to host the 2019 stopover for the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race.