Thursday, May 07, 2009

Volvo Ocean Race moves to Alicante

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] The Volvo Ocean Race is to move its headquarters from the south coast of England to Alicante, Spain. The Mediterranean city will become both the start port and the home of the race for the next three editions.

The announcement was made at a press conference today in Boston after the signing of an agreement between the Volvo Ocean Race and the Spanish regional government of Valencia.

“This is a great moment for the Volvo Ocean Race,” Knut Frostad, the race CEO said in revealing details of the alliance. “One of our goals, as we’ve looked ahead to the next race, has been to establish long-term relationships with our stopover ports, and, for economic reasons, to base our headquarters in one of the stopover ports. But this only makes sense when both parties can make a long-term commitment. And that’s the partnership we are announcing today with Alicante.

Signed, sealed, delivered. Alicante becomes the center of the Volvo Ocean Race for the next three editions. Francisco Camps, President Region Valencia, with Knut Frostad, Volvo Ocean Race CEO. Boston, 7 May 2009. Photo copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race

“Spain has played a significant part in recent editions of the race. Spanish sailors outnumber all other nations in the current competition and Spain has shown consistently that it understands event culture, and how to organise sporting competition.”

Francisco Camps, President of the Region of Valencia said: “The impact of hosting the start of the Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante last October was very positive for the city, the region and all of Spain. Today’s agreement means Spain will build on its status as a centre of excellence for sailing for years to come.”

Volvo Ocean Race headquarters, which has been in Hampshire, England since 1998, will begin the process of moving to Alicante following the conclusion of the current competition at the end of June. The Volvo Ocean Race will be based in Spain by the end of this year, where its headquarters will remain for the next three editions of the race.

“There are many other elements to the partnership with Alicante,” Frostad said. “These include initiatives to ensure the participation of at least two separate Spanish teams in each of the next three races.”

The agreement will also see the construction of a race museum and interactive exhibition that celebrates the 36-year history and heritage of the race. The first phase is scheduled for completion in 2010.

“The museum and interactive exhibition is very important for us,” Frostad added. “This race has a long and storied history. The museum and interactive exhibition will celebrate that heritage and provide a link between our future in Alicante and our past racing around the world.”

In addition, the port of Alicante has agreed to make itself available as a home to any of the teams in the current race after the finish in St. Petersburg at the end of June.

The announcement of the start port is separate from the bidding process which was recently initiated for international stopover ports for the next edition of the race. That process will finish by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

In October, before the start of this race, it was confirmed that Volvo would maintain its support for the race. At the previous stopover last month, in Rio de Janeiro, Knut Frostad held the first of a series of ‘roundtable’ sessions where details of the next edition of the race and the results of this consultation process are revealed. The next session is scheduled for Sunday in Boston, when more of the proposed rule changes will be explained.

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