Galway retains Volvo Ocean Race status

Sport Business News

Galway, which staged a hugely successful Volvo Ocean Race stopover in 2008–09, is back on the map again – this time as the finish port for the 2011–12 edition of the globally–renowned sailing event.

Galway withstood strong opposition from several rival cities in the official port bidding process to earn the right to host not only the finale but also the overall prize–giving ceremony. In 2008–09, Galway was the stopover for the end of the transatlantic leg from Boston. This time the fleet will sail from Lorient in France back to the Emerald Isle. Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad said that the interest in hosting the event, particularly in Europe, had been " overwhelming" . He added that he was delighted the race was returning to Irish shores. " I am very proud to confirm Ireland's participation and Galway will be a magnificent port to stage the finish of the event, " he said. " We have already experienced the enthusiasm that abounds in Ireland for the race and we are looking forward to bringing the competition to its conclusion in a country that really knows how to celebrate. " At a press conference to mark the occasion, Irish Taoiseach (Ireland's prime minister) Brian Cowen, said: " The 2009 stopover in Galway made an abiding impression on the sailors, support crews, organisers and media, who were immersed in the warmth of an Irish welcome. Their presence, in turn, had an enormous beneficial impact on Galway, the west of Ireland and indeed the entire country. Their arrival here was spectacular and their visit helped generate a massive EUR55m for the regional economy, more than one third higher than the original projections. Given its economic benefits and its importance to Irish tourism, I am more than happy to welcome the return of the Volvo Ocean Race to our shores and pledge our support for the event. " The Galway stopover, in May 2009, was one of the standout successes of the 2008–09 race. A crowd of 30, 000 flocked to the dockside for the arrival of the first boats home in the early hours. It set the tone for what was to follow. Over 650, 000 spectators filed through the race village during the week–long event. The crowd peaked at 62, 000 on the in–port race day alone – with the seaside resort of Salthill drawing a further 120, 000 visitors. Green Dragon, the Irish/Chinese entry, grabbed a podium position by finishing third into its 'home port' at end of an eventful leg seven, triggering wild celebrations. The reception stunned skipper Ian Walker and his crew. Walker's entry was the second Irish boat to contest the event after NCB Ireland in the 1989–90 Whitbread. The balance sheet looked healthy as well with the final economic impact figure put at EUR55. 8m by Deloitte. That was 30% above initial projections. Galway completes the list of European cities hosting the 2011–12 race. The remaining ports will be introduced during the remainder of March 2010.

Additional information