The newly published course calendar for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 will see Galway host up to five days of in-port racing and festivities at the end of the next event.
The Galway finale will mark the first time the race has finished with an in-port race, giving the teams a chance to add valuable points to their overall scores and allowing Irish fans to enjoy the racing on Galway Bay.
The next race will begin in Alicante, Spain, on Saturday October 29 2011 and travel some 39,270 nautical miles around the world via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya in China, Auckland, Itajai in Brazil, Miami, Lisbon, Lorient, and Galway.
The final leg of the race will leave Lorient on Sunday July 1, 2012, and will take the participants on a 485 nautical mile course around Fastnet Rock to Galway, with an expected arrival date of Tuesday July 3, 2012.
Galway will play host to five days of festivities including pro-am racing on Friday July 6 and an in-port race on Saturday July 7.
The race will see a new format to the racing programme, with shorter stopovers and less time between in-port races and leg starts.
“We had two aims when changing the stopover programme,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. “Firstly we have reduced the time the teams are onshore and the time they have between the in-port race and the leg start. Traditionally the teams would change their yachts from an offshore sailing mode to an inshore racing one and back again for the leg start. By bringing the two events together we lower the costs to them and their sponsors. In fact, we have also achieved more time for the shore crews to work on the yachts and subsequently the sailors get more time off.
“Secondly we can entertain the local public with the spectacle that is the Volvo Ocean Race on the water, for a long weekend of great racing and thrilling viewing. We hope by providing the local spectators with this on-the-water display, we will increase the public’s awareness and passion for the sport of sailing.”
The race will visit five continents and race through four oceans in less than nine months.