Where will the Volvo Ocean Race Stop in 2011-12?

Formal bidding for the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race stopover ports is underway.

Expressions of interest were distributed to potential host ports worldwide at the end of March and initial responses are due in by 24 April 2009.

Being on the list of stopovers for The Volvo Ocean Race brings prestige and economic benefits and the race organisers have shown that they are willing to explore non-traditional markets for the growth of the race and sailing as a whole. An increase in interest from potential host ports means that for the first time in the event’s history, applicants are being invited to bid for the right to become a host port on the route for the next Volvo Ocean Race.

Commenting on the bidding process and proposed new route, Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad, said:

‘We are hoping to build on the success of the current edition of the race, which visited ports in Asia for the first time. The stopovers in India and China have added a new dimension to the sport side of the race, and have been important in terms of bringing sailing to a new audience. We want to build on this momentum in Asia next time around.

‘Whilst the route in not confirmed, I can say that the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 will start and finish in Europe, should have two or three less stopovers compared to the current race, and the total time for the race should be about one month shorter.’

Angus Buchanan, Director, The Sports Consultancy added,

‘To date, an impressive number of cities around the world
have responded positively to our request for Expressions of Interest and this ultimately will give us far greater choice when planning a competitive route.

‘The task ahead is enormous as we go through the bidding process and at the final stages we will be negotiating 8-10 hosting contracts simultaneously to ensure the new route can be announced from March 2010.’

Stopovers are important, not only to the shape and length of the race, but also the spectator base and media coverage.