Galway is in pole position to land another Volvo Ocean Race stopover and is already automatically listed among 60 candidate cities which have asked to be considered as venues along the route of the 2014-15 event.
A decision will be made in December on the final venues, and in the interim there will be intense lobbying and examination of the bids from all interested cities.
The selection of the stopover and finale venues is being handled on behalf of the Volvo Ocean Race by the UK-based agencyThe Sports Consultancy which has already received in excess of 35 applications and which expects to have more than 60 by the autumn.
It is inviting expressions of interest from all interested cities, and Galway is included despite not yet having indicated whether it would be interested in applying, as all host cities are automatically included in the opening round.
Angus Buchanan of The Sports Consultancy told the Advertiser last evening that the process will gather momentum in the autumn after initial discussions with all applicants. Following that, the cities will be asked to prepare detailed bids of what they can offer the race in terms of atmosphere, crowds, and facilties.
Mr Buchanan is arriving in Galway this morning (Thursday ) to see at first hand the climax to an event that will by Monday have seen in excess of one million people attend events in the city and watch the In-Port racing on the Bay this Saturday.
Already he has been well briefed on the success so far of the Galway finale and believes Galway would be well-placed to make a bid for inclusion in a third Volvo Ocean Race.
“The race has to start in Europe and travel eastwards with the trade winds so there is a degree of flexibility regarding the selection of stopover locations. Galway was a great success the last time out and is surpassing that this time, so I am sure they will be keen to be included again,” he said.
Maree McNamara, the CEO of Let’s Do It Global also confirmed last evening that Galway would be interested in being considered again as a location but she added that all discussion on this has been shelved until Sunday when the event closes in Galway.
“At the moment, all we are focusing on is seeing out the finale and ensuring that it goes as smoothly and successfully as it has so far.
“The Galway finale has been an incredible success so there is no reason that we should not go for this again,” she said.
“Seeing what they are seeing this week, it would be very difficult for those selecting venues to turn down Galway if it really wants to do it again. I am extremely confident that Galway would be selected if it expresses an interest in doing so,” she concluded.
In excess of one million people will have visited the two Volvo villages by the time the event closes on Sunday night. More than 90,000 turned out last night for the spectacular fireworks display to mark July the Fourth, at South Park. Tomorrow night the Stunning play at the Race Village in advance of the In-Port racing on Saturday which will draw up to 200,000 people to the city and along the shores of Galway Bay.