The city of Auckland in New Zealand will again play host to sailing's greatest adventure after winning selection as a Host Port in the Volvo Ocean Race for both the 12th edition in 2014-15 and the 13th.
Abu Dhabi outside the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland
Auckland, a world renowned sailing capital, returned to the race route for the first time in 10 years in 2011-12 and staged a spectacular stopover at Auckland Viaduct, with spectators packing the Race Village and the Waitemata Harbour.
Widely reported results from Google showed Volvo Ocean Race was the second most searched term in New Zealand in 2012, demonstrating just how the event caught the imagination of the people.
Once again, the 2014-15 route will see Auckland play host to the start of the main Southern Ocean leg, sending the teams on their way around Cape Horn and on to the leg finish in Itajaí in Brazil. The dates of the stopover will be revealed next month.
The Viaduct Harbour will once again be the centre of the Auckland on the Water Boat Show
'Sailing into Auckland after a 10-year gap felt like the race was coming home,' said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. 'Tens of thousands of passionate fans packed the Race Village each day, and the crowds for all the arrivals plus the In-Port Race and Leg Start were among the best we've ever had.
'Auckland people know sailing and know the race. As soon as we arrived it was clear that we'd been away from this stunning city too long and it's hugely satisfying to be able to say that we're coming back straight away this time. Having an agreement in place for the next two editions is just the icing on the cake.'
This will be the ninth time the race has stopped at Auckland, which is known as the City of Sails for its affinity with the sea.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said: 'This is an exciting win for Auckland. New Zealand’s fabled sailing heritage, and the affinity Aucklanders have with the sea which surrounds us, makes this city the perfect Volvo Ocean Race destination.
The Viaduct Events Centre forms the backdrop to the Auckland race village, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)
'My goal is for Auckland to become the world’s most liveable city. A key component of us meeting that goal, and delivering on our ambitious economic transformation objectives, is to play host to major events such as the next two Volvo Ocean Races.'
Auckland is the fourth Host Port for 2014-15 announced so far, following the start point of Alicante and the two Brazilian ports of Recife and Itajaí. The rest of the route for 2014-15 will be revealed over the coming weeks.
More at www.volvooceanrace.com