Auckland has been confirmed as a stopover for two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The announcement was made at a media function attended by Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race organisation, the Mayor of Auckland and representatives from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.
No NZ Government representatives were present, however the NZD$5.5million event fee has been funded jointly by Auckland Council and the NZ Government.
The move comes on the back of a shortened stopover in the last edition of the race, but nevertheless one which caught the attention of the Auckland fans and generated substantial economic benefit for the region.
Two stopover venues have already been announced for the race - both in Brazil at Recife on the outbound journey and Itajai for the return leg. Auckland will be the mid-way point, in a race which Frostad told Sail-World would be similar in length to the 39,000nm course used for the previous edition. The area will start in Alicante, Spain and Auckland is the fourth Host Port to be announced.
The event fee for the previous stopover in Auckland, was believed to be $1.5million - then at the lower end of the scale, but provided a traditional stopover and in a City which has a long history with the Volvo Ocean Race.
Although Emirates Team NZ Managing Director, Grant Dalton, was present at the media conference, and in team uniform, there was no comment as to whether there would be a New Zealand entry in the race.
The next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will be sailed in identical boats, with teams sharing a pool of spare parts to reduce costs. To date two entries have been announced, which is well ahead of the same point in the last race in which six boats competed.
A feature of the one design Volvo 65 is that it has been designed to be used for two races, further reducing costs in terms of reduced design and boat optimization, as well as amortising the cost of the boat across two campaigns instead of just one.
The boat has also been designed to maximise digital media, and the race is expected to break new ground in the transmission of race coverage, and increase an already strong fan following.
An indication of the impact of the race came when it was revealed that in just two weeks 850 applications had been received for the eight on board media positions, the people selected will be trained by Volvo Ocean Race, and employed jointly by the Race organisation and the teams, with their primary focus being media. They will have no other role on the boat.
Sail-World has a full video of the media conference published below, plus an interview with Knut Frostad, published in a separate story.
For TVNZ's Martin Tasker's report on the day click here