Volvo Ocean Race, world’s most prestigious sailing event, coming to Hong Kong for first time
Organisers confirm round-the-world fleet will have stopover in Victoria Harbour in February 2018
The Volvo Ocean Race, one of sailing’s most prestigious events, will be stopping in Hong Kong for the first time in 2018.
The Royal Hong Kong Yacht club confirmed the news at a press conference on Wednesday.
The 2017-18 edition of the gruelling, round-the-world race, seen by many as sailing’s toughest challenge, will start from Alicante, Spain in autumn 2017.
The fleet will be set to arrive in Victoria Harbour in February 2018.
It is the first time Hong Kong will host an international sailing event of this scale, organisers said.
“Ocean racing does not get more exciting or prestigious than the Volvo Ocean Race and the 2018 stopover here will help to secure Hong Kong’s place on the map as an international sailing venue,” said Hong Kong Sailing Federation council member and RHYC rear commodore Anthony Day in a statement.
“We look forward to welcoming the fleet to race in our waters and to introducing the skippers and crews to a generation of young Hong Kongers who will hopefully be inspired to get out there and involved in the sport.”
He added at a press conference: “The intention is this is just the first of many stopovers in Hong Kong.”
A race village will be held on the site of the old Kai Tak airport, with activities and events for supporters and spectators.
An in-port race will also be held before the fleet departs.
Day said the event could inspire a whole new generation of Hong Kong sailors.
“The interaction between professional sailors and the kids on the water is hardwired into the Volvo legacy on any stopover,” he said.
“The fact that the Volvo’s coming here ... leaves an impression that we hope and believe is insiprational and will stay with kids as they progress through the sport.”
Antonio Bolanos Lopez, acting CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, said: “I am thrilled that the race is visiting one of the most iconic and beautiful ports in the world for the first time. We are delighted to welcome Hong Kong to the Volvo Ocean Race family and know that we will have a stopover here, which will be one of the highlights of the 2017-18 edition.”
“I would like to pay special tribute to the Hong Kong Sailing Federation with the support of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR for making our dreams of bringing the race here a reality.”
There are nine confirmed list of stopovers so far: Alicante, Auckland, Cape Town, Cardiff, Newport (USA), Lisbon, Gothenburg and The Hague are the others.
The Volvo Ocean Race is held every three years, takes around nine months to complete and covers roughly 40,000 nautical miles.
The 2014-15 race saw a Chinese boat win a stage for the first time, Dongfeng Race Team, with a crew featuring seven mainlanders and Hongkonger Cheng Ying-kit.