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Bay to host prestigious yacht race.

Byline: Ruth Mosalski Local government reporter ruth.mosalski@walesonline.co.uk

YACHTS sailing around the globe in one of the world's most famous races will arrive in Cardiff at the end of a high-profile transatlantic leg.

Wales' capital will host a two-week stopover for crews of the high-speed Volvo Ocean Race - formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race.

It is one of the world's biggest sporting events and takes place every three years but has not visited the UK for 12 years. The race, made up of different legs, lasts nine months and takes crews around the world.

The event starts in Alicante, Spain in September next year and will reach Cardiff in May 2018.

Given the nature of the race, it is not known exactly when the boats will arrive in the city but it expected they will arrive between May 26 and 31.

All crews use the same design boat which means every second counts in a race and can lead to a nailbiting climax.

The transatlantic leg, which starts in Newport in Rhode Island on May 20 and ends in Cardiff, is one of the quickest.

The crews have approximately 2,900 nautical miles to travel until they reach Cardiff.

The route and all stopovers are not yet announced but others stops include Alicante, Cape Town, Auckland, Lisbon and Gothenburg. When each boat arrives, there is a celebration and it is hoped fans will pack Cardiff Bay to welcome them.

Adolfo Rodriguez, from the Volvo Ocean Race, joined Minister for Economy, Science and Transport Edwina Hart and Cardiff council leader Phil Bale at an event to announce the launch.

Mr Rodriquez said: "All the boats have their own welcome party and celebrations and then we join in one big massive party, even if it's during the night as they arrive.

"This is the main sailing race, together with the Americas Cup".

He said the organisers were impressed with the pitch from Cardiff council, Welsh Government and the Harbour Authority about the city.

"Cardiff presented a really good package," he said.

Mrs Hart said: "It is excellent news that Wales has been chosen as the transatlantic stopover for this prestigious race. The Volvo Ocean Race is a truly global event and this stopover will be valuable in raising Wales' profile on the world stage.

"Being a transatlantic stopover will give us added benefits of increased global media coverage and will be an excellent opportunity to look at key business opportunities in the US.

"Volvo Ocean Race's arrival in Cardiff will mark another historic milestone in Wales' rise as an outstanding destination for world-class events.

"Hosting a stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race will also generate a substantial economic boost for the Cardiff and Wales economy."

Coun Bale added: "Cardiff has a very strong record in hosting major sporting events. We have seen fantastic occasions around the Rugby World Cup, cricket and extreme sailing. I think this is a really exciting opportunity for us.

"I am absolutely certain when this event takes place in Cardiff, we will really make sure people remember the city and the welcome they were given."

Cardiff 's race village will open on May 25 until June 10, 2018.

CAPTION(S):

| Team Alvimedica leads the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet around Cape Horn in 2013. Cardiff is hosting the two-week transatlantic stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race in May 2018
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 4, 2016
Words:566
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