Auckland, New Zealand, is back in the Volvo Ocean Race after a gap of 10 years. The city, which has fielded some of the world's best sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race, last hosted the event in 2001-02. It will stage the leg four finish from Sanya in China and the start of leg five, which will take the fleet into the Southern Ocean once again, round the infamous Cape Horn and up to a finish in Itajai, Brazil.
"It is with the greatest pleasure I can confirm Auckland, New Zealand has won its bid to become a stopover port in the next Volvo Ocean Race. The local people have an immense appreciation of sailing, and the Volvo Ocean Race in particular," said Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad. "Many of the world's best-known sailors are from New Zealand, and we are proud to bring the race back to the City of Sails, where we will be sure of a huge reception."
"This announcement completes the route and our goal of contracting all the ports before the end of March 2010, significantly earlier than in previous race cycles. The preliminary course will be published during April," Frostad added.
Auckland Mayor John Banks says he is pleased to see Auckland included as a stopover for this major international event. "This event is a great fit with Auckland's maritime location and of significant economic benefit for our city," says Mr Banks.
"Auckland has a proud history associated with this event and we look forward to welcoming the fleet and many spectators to our city once again."
New Zealand has fielded many of the world's greatest sailors, including Sir Peter Blake who competed five times in The Whitbread Round the World Race, which became the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001. He finally won it comprehensively in 1989-90 on the great Steinlager 2.
Grant Dalton, CEO of Emirates Team New Zealand, has also been a prolific competitor in the event, competing six times, being part of the winning crew onboard Flyer in 1981-82, and winning the maxi class with New Zealand Endeavour in 1993-94. Whilst fellow New Zealander Ross Field won the Whitbread 60 division with Yamaha the same year.
More recently, Mike Sanderson drove ABN AMRO ONE to a resounding victory in 2005-06, with Brad Jackson and Stu Bannatyne, as his watch captains. They carried on their winning streak as watch captains onboard 2008-09 winner Ericsson 4 and were jointly name Sailor of the Year at the 2009 Yachting New Zealand Excellence Awards. Along with Mark Christensen, Jackson and Bannatyne are the only sailors to have won the race three times.
The route for 2011-12 is now set and includes: start port Alicante/Spain, Cape Town/South Africa, Abu Dhabi/UAE, Sanya/China, Auckland/New Zealand, Itajai/Brazil, Miami/USA, Lisbon/Portugal, Lorient/France and finish port Galway/Ireland.
Click this link to download a high resolution route graphic from our media library. Please note that if you are not an existing user, you will be prompted to register for access.
More information on dates and timings for stopovers will follow in the coming weeks.
For media information on the Volvo Ocean Race, please contact:
Lizzie (Green) Ward - Press Officer (in UK)
Mob +44 7801 185 320
Sophie Luther - International Press Officer (in Spain)
Tel + 34 966 011 152 Mob +34 606 894 940
High resolution images can be downloaded from http://images.volvooceanrace.org
Tim Stonton, Picture Desk Manager (in Spain)
Tel +34 966 011 151 Mob +34 606 905 497
Full press information can be read and downloaded from http://press.volvooceanrace.com
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Editors' Notes: The Volvo Ocean Race
- The next Volvo Ocean Race will start in the Spanish port of Alicante in the autumn of 2011 and finish in Galway, Ireland during the summer of 2012
- Auckland hosted the event seven times previously: 1977-78, 1981-82, 1985-86, 1990-90, 1993-94, 1997-09, 2001-02
- Wellington hosted the event in 2005-06
New Zealand finished first and second in the 1989-90 event: Steinlager 2 (Peter Blake), Fischer & Paykel (Grant Dalton)
- Grant Dalton won the maxi division with NZ Endeavour in 1993-94
- Ross Field won the W60 division with Yamaha in 1993-94
- Mike Sanderson won with ABN AMRO ONE in 2005-06
- Mark Christensen, Brad Jackson and Stuart Bannatyne have been part of a winning crew on three occasions.
- Mark Christensen: EF Language 1997-98, illbruck 2001-02, ABN AMRO ONE 2005-06
- Brad Jackson: NZ Endeavour 1993-94, 2005-09 ABN AMRO ONE, 2008-09 Ericsson 4
- Stuart Bannatyne: 1993 NZ Endeavour, 2001-02 illbruck, 2008-09 Ericsson 4
- 189 sailors from New Zealand have taken part in the event
- The course will include stopovers in Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, Itajai, Miami, Lisbon and Lorient
- The first 31,250 nautical-mile race first took place over 37 years ago (as the Whitbread Round the World Race 1973-74), testing the crews against some of the most ferocious elements that man can encounter
- The 2011-12 race will be the 11th edition of the event
- The design of the boat is regulated and the boat is built for speed