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Galway host port of the Volvo Ocean Race finish 2010...it's back!

Few sports can match the intensity of the Volvo Ocean Race for thrilling competition, global, multi-channel exposure and unrivalled return on investment. Ireland’s most exciting festival event will return to Galway as the final destination of the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race.

Starting in October in Alicante, the fleet with race south along the African coast to Cape Town, into the Indian Ocean for Abu Dhabi, before bearing east to Sanya (China) and onto city of the sails, Auckland (New Zealand). The route to Itajaí (Brazil) will see the fleet round Cape Horn, every sailor’s Everest. Next stop is Miami before a sprint across the Atlantic to Lisbon (Portugal) through the Bay of Biscay to Lorient (France) before the Grand Finale of Galway in Ireland.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2012 is billed as an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavour. Battling monstrous seas and howling winds while living in Spartan conditions, it is Life at the Extreme.

With a tv audience in excess of 1.3 billion, print media exceeding 1.6 billion and a radio audience of over 1.1 billion it is truly a global media power house.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2012 is an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavour which has been built on the spirit of great seafarers - fearless men who sailed the world’s oceans aboard square rigged clipper ships more than a century ago.

Their challenge back then was not a race as such, but recording the fastest time between ports. This meant new levels of pride for themselves and great recognition for their vessel.

The spirit that drove those commercial sailors along the web of trade routes, deep into the bleak latitudes of the Southern Ocean and around the world’s most dangerous capes, emerges today in the form of the Volvo Ocean Race, a contest now seen as the pinnacle of achievement in the sport.

The first edition of this sporting adventure came in the wake of two remarkable sailors of the last century, Sir Francis Chichester and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, men who drew worldwide acclaim for amazing solo voyages around the planet. Inevitably their success led to talk in international sailing circles of a race around the world for fully crewed yachts. It became a reality in 1973 with The Whitbread round the World Race, the longest, most demanding and perilous sporting contest the world had known.

Dangerous it was. In that very first race three competing sailors were lost after being washed overboard during storms. This led to the inevitable call for that inaugural contest to be the last, but the desire for unbridled adventure and great competition led to the race being staged every four years.

The re-badged Volvo Ocean Race was run for the first time in 2001-02. Today it is, quite simply, the ‘Everest of Sailing’.

Each of the entries has a sailing team of 11 professional crew and the race requires their utmost skills, physical endurance and competitive spirit as they race day and night for more than 20 days at a time on some of the legs. They will each take on different jobs onboard the boat and on top of these sailing roles, there will be two sailors that have had medical training, as well as a sailmaker, an engineer and a dedicated media crew member.

During the race the crews will experience life at the extreme: no fresh food is taken onboard so they live off freeze dried fare, they will experience temperature variations from -5 to +40 degrees Celsius and will only take one change of clothes. They will trust their lives to the boat and the skipper and experience hunger and sleep deprivation.

The race is the ultimate mix of world class sporting competition and on the edge adventure, a unique blend of onshore glamour with offshore drama and endurance.

It is undeniably the world’s premier global race and one of the most demanding team sporting events in the world.

Galway was one of the most popular stopovers during the previous Volvo Ocean Race and this time the Irish port marks the finish line, so you can be sure it will be the sailors' favourite destination.
With over 600,000 visitors coming to the race village, May 2009 was a busy time in Galway. It's not the figures that mattered for the competitors, though -- they will recall the warm and happy welcome they received.

The winners of the 2011-12 race will be crowned this time next year, with an expected arrival date of July 3 following the final leg starting in the French port of Lorient.

Looking forward to the event, Let’s Do It Galway 2012 recently held a Year to Go Party for Friday night, welcoming politicians, local business people and supporters for a night of music and dancing.

That was just the beginning of the celebrations – expect more to happen from 3 to 8 July 2012 in Galway.

Look no further for Volvo Ocean Race Hotels Galway.

Click here to visit the Discover Ireland website for a list of Events

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