Voila! Volvo Ocean Race is coming to Kochi shores
Kochi: Kochi is about to set its indelible imprints on the world maritime map by playing host to the Volvo Ocean Race 2008, the agreement for which was signed here. The Volvo race is the world’s most prestigious offshore round the world yacht race, and is touted as the most challenging team-sporting event in the genre of ocean race .
This is the first time that the race is passing through Asia, and Kochi is the only port of call in India, making it all the more special to the “Queen of Arabian Sea” Scores of adventurous seafarers are expected to put to test their mettle in this event. The yachts are expected to reach Kochi on December 3, 2008 from cape Town and Kochi is one among the only three Asian stopovers , when the participating yachts are expected to call at Kochi on December 3 (from Cape Town).
The race will trigger a tourist boom of well heeled, elite tourists from all over the world, bringing in precious foreign exchange. The race will be flagged off from Alicante in Spain in October 2008, and is expected to be wrapped up in July 2009 at St. Petersburg, Russia, after completing over 39,000 nautical miles! The visiting yachts will drop anchor at the berth arranged by the Cochin Port Trust, a formidable name among the hosts that are actively involved in this prestigious event.
The yachts will reach Kochi after completing the Spanish and South African legs, to proceed to Singapore, China, Brazil, the U.S., Ireland, and Sweden before reaching the final destination of Russia. Seven entries are confirmed so far and the participants will be spending over 4 months ashore during this expedition that spans over 9 months in total. A few Olympic gold medalists in yachting are also participating in the event, which would add a speck of celebrity status to the event.
Kerala Tourism Department and other bodies including the Yachting Association of India will take care of the promotion and publicity of the event to make it a big success. Volvo Race Director Andy Hindley and the Managing Director of Kerala Tourism Development Corporation K.G. Mohanlal have inked an agreement in this regard. Volvo race has come as a token of recognition of the rich seafaring legacy of Kochi that dates back to thousands of years back when spices were traded through the sea routes of Kochi by the Portuguese traders.