by Kevin Fylan
The Volvo Ocean Race will return to Sanya's sparkling Serenity Marina in 2014-15, with the Chinese holiday destination once again confirmed on the race route after making a great impression on its debut in 2011-12.
Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing sails past the Guan Yin of the South Sea of Sanya
Thursday's announcement means sailing's premier round-the-world race will be visiting China for the third edition in succession.
Sanya, a tourism capital in Hainan province boasting year-round sunshine, will be the fourth of 10 Host Ports along the route and as in the 11th edition in 2011-12, the stopover will come between Abu Dhabi and Auckland.
Sanya made a striking debut as a Host Port in the 2011-12 Race, with hundreds of thousands of visitors getting their first taste of the Race amid the tropical conditions of the island.
'In many ways Sanya proved to be the best kept secret in sailing,' said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. 'The first-rate facilities, the perfect sailing conditions and the warmth of the people added up to an eye-opening and massively successful stop and I'm looking forward to an even better experience in 2014-15.'
China has become a fixture on the Race calendar after a stop in Qingdao in 2008-09 and Sanya in 2011-12.
'With two successful stops in China now behind us, it's hard to imagine a route without it,' Frostad said. 'China is very important to everyone involved in this event. We were given an exceptional welcome by Sanya in the last edition, with the stopover providing a unique take on the Race, and it's gratifying to know we will be back to build on our legacy.'
Volvo Ocean Race - The Sanya Race Village
Dong Yongquan, Deputy General Secretary of Sanya Municipal Government and Sanya Stopover Race Manager is delighted to welcome the race to Sanya once more: 'We are very pleased that Sanya continues to be the venue for the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in China. Sanya has proved to be an ideal sailing capital and one of the most popular sailing cities in the country. Over the next two years we will integrate resources to ensure the race preparations run smoothly. The Race continues to be an important event in our promotion of Sanya as an international tourist destination with a strong cultural legacy.'
Hua Bin, President of Serenity Sanya Marina Ltd added: 'It shows great recognition and trust by the Volvo Ocean Race to choose Serenity Sanya Marina as the race village for the Sanya Stopover. We will continue to work hard to improve the facility, service and management. Our goal is to raise the awareness of Sanya and Serenity Sanya Marina through this global race. We are very pleased to welcome our friends from around the globe to enjoy this international sailing festival with us.'
The city is the ninth to be unveiled on the route for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.
The 12th edition of an event that began in 1973 will take the teams from the Race's home in Alicante, Spain to Recife on the north east coast of Brazil. From there, the boats will head into the Southern Ocean on their way to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and along a now familiar path to Sanya in China, Auckland in New Zealand and around Cape Horn to Itajaí in the south of Brazil.
Emirates Team New Zealand leaving Abu Dhabi for Sanya China on Leg 3 of Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012
The next stop will be Newport, Rhode Island before a transatlantic crossing to Lisbon. The Race will finish in Gothenburg, Sweden. Further announcements will be made in the coming weeks.
Volvo Ocean Race