The Hague steps up to land Volvo Ocean Race finale

The Dutch city of The Hague has been chosen to host the finale of the 2017-18 edition of sailing’s Volvo Ocean Race.

The Dutch event will be preceded by a midsummer stopover in Ocean Race title sponsor Volvo’s home city of Gothenburg, setting up the crucial last leg to the Netherlands in June 2018. Gothenburg had already secured its place in the 2017-18 Ocean Race, but its new positioning will grant it further exposure with the stopover likely to be several days longer than in the 2014-15 campaign, depending on arrival times.

The Race’s outgoing Dutch chief operating officer, Tom Touber, announced the climax to the 13th edition in Scheveningen harbour at a press conference in The Hague today (Wednesday). “It’s wonderful that the finale of the 2017-18 race will be staged in a city so close to my heart, with such a rich heritage of ocean racing,” he said.

“The Hague has certainly earned this honour: the pit-stop in the previous race last June was one of the highlights of the entire event, with huge numbers of fans attending, plus great media and a long list of VIP guests. I am bowing out shortly to pursue some exciting new challenges after nearly five and a half years, but this feels like the crowning moment of my time working for the Volvo Ocean Race organisation.”

During the last edition of the Ocean Race in 2014-15, The Hague was a host port for the first time. This was celebrated with a three-day festival attended by around 150,000 people. The city’s Deputy Mayor and Alderman for Economic Affairs and Harbours, Karsten Klein, said: “Scheveningen harbour is an ideal spot for sailing professionals from all over the world. Something we were able to clearly demonstrate with last year's pit-stop.

“We also have a great deal of experience of organising major events, such as the Hockey World Cup and the Beach Volleyball World Cup, but the finish of the Volvo Ocean Race really is a major accolade for our city. It is the biggest sports event that we have ever organised in The Hague.”

The 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will begin in autumn 2017, with Alicante, Spain, the Race’s headquarters since 2010, the departure port. Further port confirmations will be made in the forthcoming months with Newport in the United States and Cardiff, Wales already announced.