sheep we’re up against
As has been rumored for a while, the City Of Sails/Nation of Sheep has beaten out Australia’s Gold Coast as the final confirmed stop on the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, bringing the race back to one of its best stopover ports during the Whitbread days. Good on Auckland and the VOR for embracing some of the race’s history rather than pulling in just one more ‘new’ player.
There is another embargoed press release pending the official announcement in a few hours, but the NZ Herald broke the story just this morning, in part writing:
"The greatest global boating grand prix is set to return to Auckland, with confirmation expected today that the City of Sails will host a stopover in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.
Auckland has seen some of the closest finishes in the history of the event, dating back to the late 80s and early 90s when it was known as the Whitbread round-the-world yacht race.
Thousands of spectators lined the Viaduct in the early hours of the morning to welcome back in port the yachts and local heroes Grant Dalton, Chris Dickson and the late Sir Peter Blake, who were all involved in numerous round-the-world campaigns. Despite its rich history with the event, Auckland hasn’t hosted a stopover since 2002. The race’s return is the result of a lengthy campaign to bring the top event back here and enhance the city’s reputation as a sailing destination."
This makes the final 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race tour look as follows:
Alicante -> Cape Town -> Abu Dhabi -> Sanya >- Auckland ->
Itajai -> Miami -> Lisbon -> Lorient -> Galway
There are certainly issues to be resolved with the new route, but for the most part, it looks pretty damned good.