Craic in Volvo Secret Stopover Schedule? Galway Final Stop in 2012?

Organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race have created their own kind of ‘March Madness’, by choosing to reveal the stopovers for the next edition of the round-the-world one by one throughout the month.

Last week, the French press ignored the embargo date for the news that Lorient would be the second European stop and set tongues wagging about how the French stopover may scuttle any chance for Galway to host the race. Some commentators have speculated that the clever PR folks in Alicante have been carefully using the leaks to keep the race announcements in the news, but whatever the strategy, there are a lot of people waiting for the route to be revealed.

Both the Irish Times and the Galway Advertiser are today predicting that rather than lose a stop on the race, Galway will in fact host the finish of the race. The Advertiser is more cautious of the two outlets saying:

To secure the finish of the race would have been thought to have been beyond the wildest dreams of the Galway backers, but in the past few days, it has become a strong possibility…

The paper quotes ‘Let’s Do It Galway’ Chairman John Killeen:

“To compare it to a game of rugby, we are 10 points up with 10 minutes to go. We are nearly there, but not yet, and while I am reasonably confident, there are always pitfalls. The Volvo officials are keeping their cards close to their chest on this one, but the official announcement is expected next Tuesday.”

The Irish Times is more confident, with the headline : “Cowen to detail Volvo race’s Galway finish,” then says;

“Cowen is expected to confirm this week that the next Volvo around the world yacht race will finish in Galway in 2012. Mr Cowen is expected to make the announcement in Dublin, when he will explain that the race festival will be an “all-island” affair.”

The economic benefit of the previous stopover in Galway is well known and the Government has committed €4 million towards the new bid. The Irish Times also reports that the Green Dragon will compete – she will be given a new keel, its sails will also be modified, and all this work will be carried out in Ireland, John Killeen of Let’s Do It Galway has confirmed.