Delta Lloyd, Ger O’Rourke’s eleventh-hour entry into the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 arrives into Alicante completing the fleet of eight yachts. Photo: Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race
Team Delta Lloyd (Ger O’Rourke IRL) has arrived safely in Alicante with a day and a half in hand before the official opening of the Race Village tomorrow night, 19 September. The team, which used the six-day crossing from Cork as its 2,000-mile qualifier, is the last team to reach the start port and joins the other seven boats completing the fleet of eight.
The team still has plenty of preparation yet to do but skipper Ireland’s Ger O’Rourke is up-beat yet realistic about the team’s performance in the early stages of the event.
'I don’t imagine we will be super competitive in the first leg because we need more time to learn about this boat, but by the second and third legs I think we can be up to speed,' he said as he stepped ashore.
Meanwhile in Alicante, the final touches are being put on the Race Village Opening ceremony due to take place tomorrow, 19 September. The gates to the village will open at 1930 local time with a spectacular ceremony scheduled to begin at 2000 hours.
The fleet of eight boats taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race is expected to parade into pool adjacent to the Race Village one at a time, to the accompaniment each boat’s chosen team music, after which the teams will parade to the main stage to be formally introduced to an expected crowd of more than 12,000 people.
Francisco Camps, President of the Region of Valencia, Sonia Castedo, Mayor of Alicante, and Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad will make welcome speeches.
The opening ceremony itself will involve 700 or more performers and will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display using 1000 kilograms of explosives.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 will be the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain, on 4 October 2008 with in-port racing, it will, for the first time, take in Cochin, India, Singapore and Qingdao, China before finishing in St Petersburg, Russia for the first time in the history of the race. Spanning some 37,000 nautical miles, stopping at 11 ports and taking nine months to complete, the Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s premier yacht race for professional racing crews.