On 21 June 2018, and for the first time ever, a fleet of Legends boats will cross the official start line, just 45 minutes ahead of the racing fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s, to race from Gothenburg to The Hague. It’s history in the making and, as Mark Turner, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, and Whitbread veteran says, “the past is, and will always be, part of the race’s future”.
“There is nothing of more value to a major sporting property than its past, its heritage, and the legends that have been created through it", Mark Turner says and adds, “In our case, both the cutting-edge yachts of their time and the extraordinary sailors that have spent often decades in their obsession to win what is today the Volvo Ocean Race Trophy.”
“We have an amazing celebration coming up - the Legends Race in June 2018. What a great way to celebrate the achievements of the past, while looking to the future and the next exciting chapter for this legendary race.”
The stage for this historic race from Sweden to The Netherlands is steeped in ocean racing history. Both countries have each fielded winners of the world’s premier ocean race: Flyer in 1977-78 and 1981-82 plus ABN AMRO One in 2005-06 for The Netherlands, and EF Language 1997-98 and Ericsson 4 in 2008-09 for Sweden. Both nations are expecting to field entries to contest the race again.
"Racing round the world has been an enormous part of my life and I am very excited that a fleet of Legends boats will be here in Sweden, my home country, next year. It’s going to be an event not to be missed and I will be there to cheer them on", said Swedish race veteran Roger Nilson.
“What a great idea! Legends boats racing from Sweden to Holland. In Holland the race is a big part of our sailing DNA and our round-the-world race history goes right back to 1977-78. The Dutch public were hooked from the moment Conny van Rietschoten won the race onboard his Flyer 1, and so was I. This boat was fully restored at Royal Huisman exactly as she was originally and lots of other boats have done the same. It will for sure be a fantastic sight to see a fleet of Legends racing towards the finish line in The Hague", adds Bouwe Bekking, who, along with Roger Nilsson, has completed the race a remarkable seven times.
Following a departure ceremony in Gothenburg , the fleet will race approximately 460 nautical miles directly to the finish line in The Hague, where there will be a spectacular celebration upon arrival.
The boats will be open to the public both in Gothenburg and The Hague as well as being available for charter sailing before and after the race itself. There will be a parade of sail in both host cities, and the event will conclude with an official prizegiving in The Hague.
“The Legends Race will add a lot of excitement to the stopover in Gothenburg because there are many fans in Sweden who are devoted to the history of the Volvo Ocean Race”, said Camilla Nyman, CEO Gothenburg & Co, organisers of the stopover in Gothenburg.
Frank van der Peet, head of the organising team for the The Hague, said, “Holland has a long and successful history with The Whitbread and the Volvo Ocean Race, so we are very enthusiastic about welcoming these magnificent and historic boats to The Hague.”