Volvo Ocean Race Announces 1 Stop For 2011-2012 Route.

We are used to great things from the Volvo Ocean Race. The professionalism with which the organisers operate the event is a fantastic example that all rights holders in the business of sailing should be looking to as best practise. So perhaps it is because we associate the Volvo Ocean Race team with such high standards that we were a little disappointed with yesterday’s announcement of the new route for 2011-2012.

[cleeng_content id=”735879646″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]The announcement had been built up as a significant event, and given the importance of the race route to teams, sponsors, the media and other stakeholders, many were expecting the race to confirm all stops for the 2011-2012 event. Instead, the Volvo Ocean Race announced just one.

The PR hype was such, that even people closely connected with the race believed that the entire route would be announced. The marketing machine announced that the statement would be made in multiple languages, including Chinese, increasing speculation about the ports that would be part of the next race. Early on Monday, the race used its social media accounts to further increase the tension by delaying the scheduled announcement to 15:00 CET.

In the end, the news was leaked via Twitter about an hour before it appeared on the official Volvo Ocean Race website. The news that Cape Town, South Africa would make its eighth appearance as a stopover port. The PR hype had worked, we were eagerly awaiting big news only to be told via the official release that:

This marks the beginning of the port announcement process with the rest of the course due to be revealed before the end of March.

Why have one news story when you can have up to eight? Why let ports that have been involved before get lost in a release that may contain new and controversial venues? Why appear like a capable solid event with multiple global venues when you can start whispers like “do they have any other ports confirmed?”

And so to the news. Cape Town will be the first stop on the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race.

CEO Knut Frostad said in the official statement:

“We have received port bids from many different cities, each with their own cultures, specialities and challenges. We have taken our time to evaluate carefully over 80 bids from ports around the world who wanted to host the event, before making our decisions. As we continue to improve and lift the bar for our stopovers, it is great to have Cape Town onboard sharing the same vision and ambitions.”

Bruce Parker-Forsyth, CEO of The Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town Stopover and Worldsport, the project management company behind the last four stopovers:

“We are delighted that after a year of negotiations, Cape Town has once again been selected as the first port of call in this prestigious ocean race. As the past few stopovers have proved, the race is a superb platform to achieve business tourism and sporting objectives for Cape Town and the Western Cape.”

To be clear, the Volvo Ocean race have said that the next announcement will only include European stops including the final port. We will need to wait until the end of March until we know about stops in Asia, Australasia or the Americas.

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