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Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

Want to experience the Volvo Ocean Race? It may be your one and only chance in Hong Kong

Government’s HK$25 million support crucial in bringing the seven-yacht fleet to Hong Kong for the first time next week

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 January, 2018, 9:18pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 9:29am

Organisers have called on the public to get behind the Volvo Ocean Race when the seven-yacht fleet arrives in Hong Kong from Melbourne next week, heralding it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience to watch racing at its best.

Hong Kong hosts the end of the fourth leg of the 45,000-nautical mile race with the city the only stopover in Asia from a total of 10 legs that also featuresLisbon, Melbourne, Auckland, Cape Town, Gothenburg and The Hague.

“We don’t know if we can bring the event back to Hong Kong in future because of its [high running] costs and because there is stiff competition for hosting rights of having it in the city,” said Tong Yui-shing, president of the Hong Kong Sailing Federation.

Watch: Take a virtual 3D tour of the Race Village of Volvo ocean race 2017-18

“We have never been able to do this before. This is the first time we have also entered a yacht in the world-class event.

“Any sports fan should not miss this opportunity of watching these yachts in Hong Kong before they leave for the next [competition] stop in Auckland.”

Singapore and Sanya, in Hainan Island, are the only other cities in Asia that have hosted the event.

Hong Kong is hosting the world’s premier offshore race, held every three years, to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the reunification with China.

The government is the event’s main financial backers to the tune of more than HK$25 million. That includes the cost of setting up a festival village at the Kai Tak Runway Park from January 17-31. The village will also be the berth for the seven yachts during their stay in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Scallywag fifth across the finish line in Volvo Ocean Race third leg

The seven crews are already on their way to Hong Kong after leaving Melbourne on January 2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing were leading the field as they raced past Solomon Islands at 9pm on Monday (Hong Kong time) ahead of Turn the Tide on Plastic, Team AkzoNobel and China’s Dongfeng.

Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag were last but had made up more than 60 nautical miles on the leader and has been the fastest boat for the 16 hours up to 9pm. They are expected to arrive in Hong Kong on January 20 and will make several port calls, including a visit to Nansha port of Guangzhou before leaving for the next competition stop in Auckland on February 7.

The festival will feature a boatload of free sailing and entertainment, with daily family friendly entertainment, including DJs and live music from up-and-coming local bands and entertainers, alongside a variety of food and beverage options and sailing and water sport themed activities.

One of the major attractions, the Globe will provide a cinematic experience to understand what it’s like in the race, while a full-sized race boat will be cut in half to allow visitors the chance to explore inside the boat, have a go at the steering wheel and see how small the sailors’ living quarters are.

A concert featuring Canto-pop star Sammi Cheng Sau-man will also be held on January 26 with 8,000 free tickets to be made available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis (registration via www.ticketflap.com on January 11, 10am).

We’ll show them what Hong Kong is all about – David Witt and Scallywag prepare to set sail for home in Volvo Ocean Race

Free ferry services to the village will be provided at Kwun Tong Ferry Pier, while visitors can take a taxi or paid trip from North Point or Sai Wan Ho Piers.

“We are expecting 7,000 people to visit the village on a daily basis and there are more than enough activities for them to enjoy,” said a Home Affairs Bureau official.