As the Volvo Ocean Race returns to the United Kingdom for the first time in over a decade, it’s the Welsh City of Cardiff that has opened its doors to receive the fleet after their Transatlantic sprint from Newport, Rhode Island.
“This will be the first time since 2005-06 that the U.K has hosted a stopover and we are delighted to be here in the country’s sporting capital,” says Karin Backlund, Commercial Director of the Volvo Ocean Race. “Many people have forgotten that this race started and finished in the U.K for the first 7 editions, so this makes Cardiff the third city in Britain [after Portsmouth and Southampton] to host the race. This is undoubtably the start of a very exciting stopover and we look forward to seeing what Cardiff and Wales has in store for the Volvo Ocean Race.”
In a ceremony that marked the official opening of the Cardiff Race Village, dignitaries from the Host City and the Volvo Ocean Race exchanged pleasantries. Present on behalf of Cardiff was Rt. Hon Carwyn Jones AM (Wales First Minister) and the Leader of Cardiff Council, Councillor Huw Thomas, while representing the Volvo Ocean Race was Karin Backlund and Host City Operations Manager Adolfo Rodruigez.
The fleet is currently in the North Atlantic over 300 nautical miles from the finish line which is based just off Lavernock Point. This is a double-points scoring leg, and one potential outcome will put four boats into contention for the overall win... with just two legs to go. Tensions are high and the arrival is expected to be an emotional one.
The latest expected time of arrival (ETA) is around 0100 Tuesday morning for the leaders and 1600 Tuesday afternoon for the last boat. Once the Volvo Ocean 65s have crossed the finish line they will proceed to the dock in the Race Village which is accessed via a tidal lock. If they are unable to access the lock due to low tide, the crew will be transferred by RIB to the Race Village. The Cardiff Race Village will be open to the public to greet the sailors, even if it is 4am!
Welsh sailor Bleddyn Mon onboard Turn the Tide on Plastic expressed his excitement at coming home. “Cardiff is the capital of the my home country so I’m looking forward to seeing home. I’m really proud to be on my way from Newport, Rhode Island to Wales, especially with this being such an important leg of the race, with double points up for grabs. This is a big deal for me personally and professionally.”
The arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2018 completes a world-class sporting double for the Welsh city, which hosts the UEFA Champions League Final in 2017 at the city's iconic Principality Stadium. Wales is also a growing power in world football, having enjoyed an incredible run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
The Cardiff Race Village is open to the public from 27 May - 10 June. To find out more about Race Village activities, click here.