Sailing’s Volvo Ocean Race will return to Australia for the first time in over a decade after Melbourne was added to the calendar for the 2017-18 edition of the event.
The change to the 2017-18 route means the Race will visit Australia for the eighth time and Melbourne’s addition completes the line-up for the series. With what will be a compressed stopover, Melbourne fits between Cape Town and Hong Kong, and completes a 45,000-nautical mile route that will see the teams cover three times as many miles in the Southern Ocean as in previous editions.
Cape Town to Melbourne will now make up Leg Three of the race – a double-point scoring, 6,300-nautical mile leg. Melbourne will host a week-long stopover, but no In-Port Race, before the fleet leaves on Leg Four to Hong Kong. According to projections, the one-design Volvo Ocean 65 fleet will arrive around Christmas Day this year.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events for the state of Victoria, John Eren, said: “Major events are fantastic for the entire visitor economy – they keep our restaurants and hotels full and our shopping precincts bustling. The Victorian government is proud to work with a range of dedicated partners to support this stand out sailing event.”
Australia’s history with the Volvo Ocean Race goes all the way back to the first edition in 1973-74. The race first came to Melbourne in 2005-06 and now returns for a second time. The full route now features a total of 10 legs taking in 12 host cities on six continents.
The teams will leave Alicante, Spain on October 22 and race on to Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne and Hong Kong before a non-scoring transition to Guangzhou in China. After a stopover in Guangzhou that will include a race in the In-Port Series, the ocean legs will resume with a leg to Auckland before stopping in Itajaí, Brazil; Newport, Rhode Island; Cardiff and Gothenburg. The 2017-18 season will conclude in the Dutch city of The Hague.