The world’s premier round-the-world sailing event will visit Hong Kong for the first time after the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) announced Wednesday the city has been chosen as a host port for the 2017-18 edition.
This will be the first time that Hong Kong has been a stopover for the VOR, although race organisers have been looking at the city, with its spectacular harbour surrounded by skyscrapers, for quite a while. ‘Iconic’ is a much-overused word, but the thought of a fleet of VO65s racing in Victoria Harbour is nothing short of mouth-watering.
The race, lasting almost nine months and covering 40,000 nautical miles and 11 ports, is rated sailing's toughest test.
In the 43 years since the first start, the racing yachts have visited the world's great ports "with one obvious exception," said the event's publicity chief, Jon Bramley, at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
So "for the first time the Volvo Ocean Race is coming to Hong Kong."
It will be the largest world-class sailing event ever staged in Hong Kong.
Anthony Day, a Hong Kong Sailing Federation council member and a RHKYC rear commodore for sailing, said: "Ocean racing does not get more exciting or prestigious than the Volvo Ocean Race.
"The 2018 stopover here will help to secure Hong Kong's place on the map as an international sailing venue. We look forward to welcoming the fleet to race in our waters and to introducing the skippers and crews to a generation of young Hongkongers who will hopefully be inspired to get out there and involved in the sport," he added.
Antonio Bolaños Lopez, acting CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, added: “I am thrilled that the race is visiting one of the most 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 that will be one of the highlights of the 2017-18 edition. I would like to pay special tribute to the Hong Kong Sailing Federation and the Hong Kong government for making our dreams of bringing the race here a reality.”
Current stopovers announced for the 2017-18 edition has the route beginning in Alicante (ESP) and thus far is presumed to be stopping in this order: Lisbon (POR), Cape Town (RSA), Hong Kong (HKG), Auckland (NZL), Newport (USA), Cardiff (GBR), Gothenburg (SWE), and finishing in The Hague (NED).