Thursday, 4 March 2010

VOR: Lorient Secures Two Race Deal for Volvo Ocean Race

France returns to host the Volvo Ocean Race from Lorient, in Brittany on the northwest coast of France, in the summer of 2012. Lorient will be the penultimate stopover in the race, which starts from Alicante, Spain in the autumn of 2011. Like La Rochelle before it (1997-98 and 2001-02), Lorient will also host a stopover in 2014-15 edition of the race

(l-r) Knut Frostad, Chief Executive Officer Volvo Ocean Race, Norbert Metairie, President de Cap l'Orient agglomeration, Maire de Lorient. Image copyright Gwenaelle Pichard - Leroyer/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Sophie Luther

The announcement of Lorient follows that of start port Alicante, and Cape Town and Lisbon as host ports. Lisbon in Portugal will play host to the start of the leg to Lorient, which is around 700 nm.

“We are extremely pleased to have a strong French presence in the race,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad. “It has long been our goal to reignite the passion of this classic event among the French people and we are delighted to have reached an agreement with the city of Lorient to host the event for two consecutives races,” he said.

France has fielded 21 entries in the race, taking part in every race from 1973-74 up until the sixth race in 1993-94 in which La Poste finished third. L’Esprit d’Equipe, skippered by Lionel Péan, was the overall winner in 1985-86 and 289 French sailors have taken part in the previous 10 races.

“Over the last 10 years, Lorient has transformed its submarine base into European-wide sailing cluster hosting a business centre to yachting activities. It is where the maxi trimarans Banque Populaire V and Groupama 3 were built. It also has an offshore sailing centre of about 50 teams, including France’s most famous skippers,” according to Norbert Métairie, Mayor of Lorient and President of Cap l’Orient Council.

“Today we are overwhelmingly pleased to have demonstrated that Lorient is a perfect site to host international events such as the Volvo Ocean Race, which will undoubtedly yield significant benefits,” he added.

Jean-Noel Thenault, President of Volvo Trucks France, Wim Maes, President of Volvo Cars France, Greg Miall, Commercial Director Volvo Ocean Race, Knut Frostad, Chief Executive Officer Volvo Ocean Race, Norbert Metairie, President de Cap l'Orient agglomeration, Maire de Lorient Sophie Roy, Relations Publiques et Sponsoring Groupama, Herve Cornic, Directeur General des Services pour Cap l'Orient. Image copyright Gwenaelle Pichard - Leroyer/Volvo Ocean Race.

During the stopover in Lorient, the Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly, a complex dedicated to modern sailing races and bearing the name of the French skipper who sailed in The Whitbread four times (1973-74 Pen Duick VI, 1981-82 Euromarché, 1985-86 Côte d’Or and 1993-94 on La Poste), will be situated right in the centre of the race village.

Groupama, skippered by Franck Cammas, who is currently taking on the Jules Verne Trophy – a prize for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by any type of yacht with no restrictions on the size of the crew – has Lorient as its home base and will be France’s entry in the next two races.

The next European port will be announced shortly.

The Volvo Ocean Race traces its origins back to 1973 and is the world’s premier offshore sailing race. The Volvo Open 70 racing boat is sailed by professional athletes, who race around the world with the prevailing winds.

The Volvo Ocean Race: a summary
• The next Volvo Ocean Race will start in the Spanish port of Alicante in the autumn of 2011
• La Rochelle in France hosted the event in 1997-98 and 2001-02
• 289 French sailors have taken part in the first 10 races
• 21 boats from France have entered The Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race
• The design of the boat is regulated and the boat is built for speed
• The first 31,250 nautical-mile race first took place over 37 years ago (as the Whitbread Round the World Race 1973-74), testing the crews against some of the most ferocious elements that man can encounter
• The 2011-12 race will be the 11th edition of the event

Volvo Ocean Race

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