by Penny Dain
Ross Masters, Commodore of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (R) presents the flag to Chris Nicholson, Skipper of Camper (L) and Grant Dalton, Managing Director of Emirates Team New Zealand during the Auckland Port’s farewell press conference at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on July 20, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand.
The organisers of the Auckland Stopover for the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race revealed plans for the Race Village and bid bon voyage to CAMPER, the Emirates Team New Zealand entry for the event, today (Wednesday).
Skipper Chris Nicholson and the entire crew of CAMPER, one of the favourites for the gruelling nine month marathon around the globe, gathered at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron for the farewell. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, their Volvo Open 70 yacht was carefully loaded onto a Maersk Line container ship to make its way to the race start in Alicante, Spain.
'As a consequence of Emirates Team New Zealand partnership with CAMPER and our entry into the Volvo, we are delighted to have played a key part in bringing the race back to Auckland after a ten year absence,' says Grant Dalton, Managing Director of Emirates Team New Zealand. 'This race has been a huge part of my life and of sailing history in New Zealand. Whilst my head is in the America’s Cup, my heart has always been in the Volvo and it is great to once again be involved this event.'
'We have had an extensive three month testing period here in Auckland, which has provided a unique location for us to sail CAMPER in a variety of true race conditions,' says CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson. 'The city has so much history with the race and it will be a proud moment for our team to sail into Auckland next March.'
Rachael Dacy, General Manager Destination for Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), says the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race Stopover in Auckland will be a highlight of Auckland’s sporting calendar.
'We are looking forward to welcoming the Volvo Ocean Race teams into Auckland in March next year and hope to see CAMPER finishing ahead of the fleet,' says Dacy. 'Auckland has a special bond with the world’s pre-eminent round-the-world sailing contest and the Stopover is a chance for Auckland to again highlight its ability to stage major events of an international standard.
'The Stopover offers more than a one-off economic boost to Auckland and, with the right goals in place, we are ready to leave New Zealand with a valuable legacy. Auckland’s Stopover will reinforce our position as a major events capital, grow the reputation of New Zealand’s marine sector and assert Auckland’s position as the world’s premier sailing destination.'
Members of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron gathered to wish CAMPER luck in the Race and the Commodore presented the crew with the official RNZYS flag.
The Auckland Stopover runs from 8 to 18 March. Like all nine stopovers in the race, it will feature an In-Port Race, with points counting towards the Volvo Ocean Race overall standings, and a Pro-Am Race.
'Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour will be transformed into a vibrant Race Village for the Stopover with the new Viaduct Events Centre acting as Race HQ,' says Auckland Stopover Port Director Tom Mayo. 'It will be an amazing venue and entry into the Race Village will be free throughout the Stopover.'
Latitude Island will be the entertainment hub with a packed programme of events on the big stage, large screens, live music plus concept bars. And there’ll be a top quality range of stalls, public eateries and family activities in Gateway Plaza.
Visitors to Pit Lane, in front of the Viaduct Events Centre, can see the Volvo Open 70 fleet up close and watch the teams prepare for the next leg. The interactive Volvo Ocean Race Experience Zone offers unique insight into life onboard during the Race with the adrenaline-filled simulator, the Grinding Challenge and a chance to race mini Volvo Open 70s.
About the Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover
The 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race starts in Alicante (Spain) on 29 October and features nine Legs with Stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajai (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France) with the finish in Galway (Ireland) in July 2012.
The Auckland Stopover runs from 8 – 18 March 2012
8 March: boats scheduled to arrive for finish of Leg 4 from Sanya (China)
16 March: Pro-Am Race
17 March: In-Port Race
18 March: Start of Leg 5 to Itajai (Brazil)
The last Auckland Stopover was a decade ago, during the 2001/2002 Race. There was a brief 48 hour pitstop in Wellington in 2005/6.
The 2012 Stopover will be the eighth time the Race has come to Auckland. This is the eleventh edition of the Race which was first held back in 1973/74.
For more information on the Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover, please visit www.volvooceanraceauckland.com