Photo: Oscar Kihlborg / Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race bound for Recife

New shorter opening leg for the next fully crewed round the world race

Friday January 18th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

The Brazilian state of Pernambuco will enter a team in the next Volvo Ocean Race and its capital city, Recife, will provide the first stopover along the route of the race. Typically Cape Town is the first stopover port in the race - the only exception having been 1993-4 when South Africa was boycotted due to unrest over the aparteid regime in at the time and the race instead twice visited Punta del Este.

The choice of Recife will also substantially shorten leg one. Compared to the leg from Alicante to Cape Town at 6,500 miles, Alicante to Recife will be just 3,500 miles, however a shorter opening leg is certainly a smart move as this is typically when the majority of the carnage traditionally occurs in the fully crewed round the world race.

The Recife team becomes the second publicly announced team for the 2014-5 Volvo Ocean Race, following the SCA all-women's team. Details about the team, including the identity of the skipper, will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Today’s announcement of the Pernambuco team and Recife stopover are fantastic news for the Race,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. “I’m delighted to see the Race strengthen our ties with Brazil, Recife and Pernambuco in this way.

"Coming to Recife at the end of Leg 1 means there will be a lot of attention on this great city and having a Brazilian team in the Race will be fantastic for fans across the country."

The decision to make Leg 1 of the route from Alicante to Recife, capital of the Pernambuco state on the north east coast of Brazil, means the Volvo Ocean Race will be visiting Brazil in one of the biggest sporting years in the nation's history – just a few months after the country hosts the 2014 soccer World Cup. Recife is one of the Host Cities for the World Cup, staging five matches. The Volvo Ocean Race will be in Recife in mid to late October, with dates to be confirmed next month.

"The arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race will help make the 'year of Recife' even more of a celebration," said Volvo Ocean Race COO Tom Touber. "Brazil is the capital of world sport with the World Cup coming up in 2014 and the Rio Olympics to follow in 2016 and it's a real thrill to be bringing the Race to a country with such passion for sport."

Recife, a city with more than five million inhabitants, boasts palm trees and year-round sunshine and is famous for the sandy, wide Boa Viagem beach. It was one of over 80 ports to express an interest in hosting the race when the bid process was launched in 2012. The deal announced on Thursday will see Recife host the race for the next two editions.

The last Brazilian team to enter the Volvo Ocean Race was Brasil 1 in 2005-06. Torben Grael was the skipper and Knut Frostad, now the Volvo Ocean Race's CEO, featured as a crew member on some of the legs. The Brazilian campaign proved to be a big success and generated great interest worldwide and in the media.

The remainder of the route will be announced over the next few weeks, with final details, including dates of stopovers and distances to be sailed, coming by mid-February.

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