There is growing confidence in Galway this weekend that not alone will the city will be named as a stopover port for the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race, but that it is in with a great chance of hosting the finish of the race — an award that would multiply the massive coverage it received last year.
The third and final European stop - and also the finishing leg of the round the world race - is expected to be named on Tuesday after both Lisbon and Lorient were named as the first two European ports.
However Galway is still in with a chance to beat off the competition which includes the traditional ports of northern Europe, ports including the Swedish ports of Goteborg and Stockholm that are the home ports of sponsors Volvo and race favourites Ericsson.
To secure the finish of the race would have been thought to have been beyond the wildest dreams of the Galway backers, but in the past few days, it has become a strong possibility. However, the route and the individual inter-port races has yet to be finally decided.
Let’s Do It Galway chairman John Killeen says the intense lobbying that has taken place throughout Europe in the last six months is now over, and all Galway can do is wait and hope until next week’s announcement.
However he still remains “reasonably confident” the decision will be in Galway’s favour.
“To compare it to a game of rugby, we are 10 points up with 10 minutes to go.
“We are nearly there, but not yet, and while I am reasonably confident, there are always pitfalls.
“The Volvo officials are keeping their cards close to their chest on this one, but the official announcement is expected next Tuesday,” he says.
A number of options for the stopover have been discussed with the Volvo organisers, including a penultimate leg from Galway’s twin city Lorient to Galway before a final race which could be around Ireland.
Whatever the option, if Galway is chosen, it will be the last stop in the entire 37,000 nautical mile race which takes place in 2011-12.
The previous race finished in St Petersburg after stops in Goteborg and Stockholm.
After Galway hosted one of the most successful stops in the race history, John Killeen says he will be extremely disappointed if the decision goes against its return.
“I will be shellshocked, but we have gone through all the options in the last couple of weeks, and there is nothing more we can do.”
Mr Killeen also confirmed that the Green Dragon, Ireland’s entry in last year’s race, will compete in the next event - whether or not Galway gets the nod to host this stopover.