The Volvo Ocean Race has announced another stopover in its drip-feed race reveal. In a time when information moves at the speed of light around the globe, race organisers are putting a lot of faith in the media and others to respect embargoes about where the 2011-12 race will visit.
Yesterday’s official news is that Lisbon has been chosen as the first of the European ports for next race. Lisbon, will be the finish of the transatlantic leg which was hosted by Galway in the last edition.
Interest in hosting the race in Europe was received from 34 cities, 15 of which went through to the final phase of the bidding process. Europe was by far the most competitive continent in the selection procedure. The news should be good for Portuguese sailing and may help generate support for the Bigamist TP52 team and the Portugal Ocean Race for Class 40 boats.
Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad said:
“It is great to have such an iconic city included in our list of stopovers and Lisbon, especially, has wonderful sailing conditions, which will make for a very exciting in-port race. Lisbon is a delightful city with much to offer the race. This will be a stopover to look forward to after the rigours of the transatlantic leg.”
Antonio Costa, Mayor of the City of Lisbon, was delighted that the city had joined the Volvo fold:
“Lisbon has a great navigational past and the Volvo Ocean Race helps increase this. It is the capital of the Atlantic and it’s natural for Lisbon to be the transatlantic finish. The Volvo Ocean Race has been an amazing event since 1973 and we are very proud to succeed in gaining this stopover. Victory was obtained through the great efforts of all parties, made possible by Tourism Portugal, Tourism Lisbon and Lagos Sports.”
The official announcement states that the second European port will be announced on Wednesday 3 March, but keeping that secret had proved too much for some.
The usually savvy Volvo Ocean Race media team seem to be counting on old journalistic models to try and keep hold of the stopover announcement agenda, but not all are playing ball. A Tweetphoto with the caption “Chut, n’en parlez pas, il y a embargo 😉 ” has helped leak the news of another European stopover. While it was generally assumed that there would be a stop in France, given the importance of the sailing market to the Volvo Ocean Race and the participation of a Groupama French team, it was not widely known where the French stop would sit in the order.
If the leaked news is right, then Galway may have missed out on a second visit from the Volvo Ocean Race. This would come as a big blow to the Irish team who have invested heavily in trying to woo the race back to the town that put on such a memorable stopover in the last edition.
Another announcement will be made on the 3rd of March, but keep watching Twitter if you can’t wait…