Saturday April 7 marks 50 days to go before the Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s toughest and most prestigious sailing event, is expected to arrive in Cardiff on Sunday May 27 for a two week stopover, further enhancing Cardiff’s reputation as a leading waterside city.
The leading boats in the fleet are expected to reach Cardiff Bay sometime on Bank Holiday Monday after a 2,900 nautical mile voyage across the Atlantic from Newport, Rhode Island. This much sought after Atlantic stopover enhances Cardiff’s reputation as a maritime city across the world as this is the first UK visit in 12 years for a race that started life in 1973. It will bring a significant financial boost to the Welsh economy in the Visit Wales designated ‘Year of the Sea’.
The danger of the challenge facing competitors in the Race was brought into sharp focus last week when crew member John Fisher was lost overboard in the treacherous Southern Ocean on the fleet’s journey between New Zealand and Brazil. The tragedy received global attention, and universal condolences, but the Race goes on and in just seven weeks it will cross the Atlantic from Newport, Rhode Island to arrive in Cardiff where visitors from around the world will get a chance to get up close to the fleet, and to discover more about Cardiff.
The Volvo Ocean Race is the latest in a long line of major international sporting events to be hosted in Cardiff in recent years, including last week’s World Heavyweight Title Boxing clash; the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final; key matches from the 2015 Rugby World Cup; and Olympic football in 2012.
Cardiff Bay was the largest waterfront redevelopment project in Europe when it was developed at the end of the 20th century, turning what was once the world’s largest coal exporting port into a centre for sport and recreation, hosting the annual international Extreme Sailing Series, numerous Powerboat Grand Prix and international canoeing events.
Welsh Government Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas said: “With 50 days to go, we’re getting very excited about the arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race. We’re thrilled to be playing our part in this event – especially during our celebration of our spectacular shores during this Year of the Sea. The Cardiff stopover will be a great boost to the Welsh economy, and provides another opportunity to further enhance Wales’ positive international profile.”
The 45,000 nautical mile Volvo Ocean Race set out from Alicante last October, journeying across the great oceans with stopovers in some of the most famous maritime destinations such as Hong Kong, Cape Town and Auckland. When it leaves Cardiff on June 10, it moves on to Gothenburg and The Hague for its finale at the end of June.
One of the boats, Turn The Tide On Plastic, is helping to spread the message about the damage caused by plastic in the oceans, and is actually collecting data on microplastics as it voyages around the world. Amongst its crew is Welshman Bleddyn Môn, who’s looking forward to coming home in May. Bleddyn said: “The Volvo Ocean Race is a huge test of ability and resilience, and it’s been one of the most amazing experience of my life. As a Welshman, it’s terrific that Cardiff is the UK stopover, and I’m so looking forward to catching up with family and friends when we reach Cardiff Bay in May.”
There will be a two week long free festival in the Volvo Ocean Race Village located near Cardiff Bay Barrage, where visitors will be able to see the boats, and find a variety of Race-themed attractions and entertainment on the waterfront, including live music and performances of LEXICON, a contemporary take on circus heritage, created by Cardiff’s own NoFit State and Firenza Guidi. The festival will have a Welsh flavour, with Welsh producers offering locally-sourced food and drink – from bars offering real ale to the most popular street food vendors.
Cllr. Peter Bradbury, Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure said: “Excitement is really building as we begin the 50 day countdown to the Volvo Ocean Race arriving in Cardiff. It’s going to be a fantastic fortnight in the city and another opportunity to showcase our credentials as a major sporting event destination. We’re really looking forward to welcoming the crews and all the visitors to our city for what promises to be a real spectacle on the sea.”
Volvooceanracecardiff.com; Visitcardiff.com; Visitwales.com
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Volunteers are now being recruited to support the event, so anyone interested can visit www.thesportshub-cardiff.com or call 02920 205283.
Volvo Ocean Race Village in Cardiff
Providing an insight into the race itself, revealing more about the characters who have raced themselves and the challenges they have faced.
National Marine Aquarium Workshops
A variety of fun-filled workshops, focusing on the issue of one-use plastic.
Impress your friends with a selfie behind the wheel of a replica Volvo racing yacht!
Citrus Arts performance, Shipwrecks – The Receivers of the Wreck
Highly physical performances combining circus with dance and drama to tell universal stories.
Treat yourself to a smorgasbord of musical vibes. Each day the Street Food Village will host live music to accompany the fabulous range of food on offer.
Organised Kaos Youth Circus – Circus Workshops
Try your hand at diablo, juggling, uni-cycling and more!
Water Sports Activities
Ever wanted to get out on the water but don’t know where to start? Coaches will be on hand to offer taster sessions in sailing and stand-up paddle boarding. Register for your free space on the day!
When the site is open until 9pm, come and sample the delicious food and drink and unwind as the sunsets over Cardiff Bay, with music sessions curated by organisations including BBC Horizons and SWN.
Would-be-adventurers can try their hand at the climbing wall or zip-wire while those looking for a more sedate activity can get a bird’s eye view of the village and the bay from the spectacular big wheel.
NoFit State Circus - Lexicon
We have teamed up with NoFit State, a contemporary circus company, to bring you an unmissable combination of live music, dance, stage design and film with traditional circus skills.
Visit volvooceanracecardiff.com/ticketed-events for more information.
Military Festival of Music – Saturday 2nd June
A selection of Her Majesty the Queen’s finest Armed Forces bands including The Regimental Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Welsh, The Bugles Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment and The Band of the Royal Marines will join us in the Volvo Ocean Race Village.
Here are some interesting facts to welcome first time visitors to Cardiff:
Over 20 million tourists visit Cardiff each year.
Cardiff is the first Fair Trade capital in the world.
The Welsh capital claims to have more castles than any city in the world – there are 26 in the city and surrounding areas.
There is more green space per person in Cardiff than any other large UK city.
Famous children’s writer Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff.
Henry Morgan, better known as the Captain Morgan who had his name attributed to rum, was born in Cardiff in the 1600s.
Volvo Ocean Race Facts
The Volvo Ocean Race is held every three years. Each of the entries has a sailing team of between seven and eleven professional crew, depending on the gender ratios, who race day and night for more than 20 days at a time on some of the legs. No fresh food is taken on board, so the crew lives off freeze-dried fare; they will experience temperature variations from −5 to +40 degrees Celsius and will only take one change of clothes.
Volvo Ocean Race Teams:
Turn The Tide On Plastic – United Nations Environment’s Clean Seas
Team AkzoNobel, The Netherlands
Dongfeng Race Team, China
Vestas 11th Hour Racing, USA / Denmark
Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, Hong Kong
Team Brunel, The Netherlands
Skippers are allowed to change the team line-up on a leg-by-leg basis. Returning to the Southern Oceans means teams will face more gruelling conditions for longer. All male crews are allowed seven members, but they can take up to 2 females. If the gender split is event, they are allowed a team of 10, while all female crews can consist of 11 members. Skippers can nominate different crew combinations per leg. Each team must have at least two members under 30.
For further information: Tim Powell 07939 571553 / email@example.com