Despite 39,000 nautical miles and nine of the world’s major cities between the Spanish starting port and the Irish finishing port, memories of the famous welcome Galway laid on for the 2008–2009 Volvo Ocean Race stopover were still on everyone’s lips.
On the back of that outstanding success, the ancient west of Ireland city will again host the world’s leading sailors, their stunning vessels and thousands of spectators – this time as the finish line to the event.
The race will conclude in Galway on Tuesday 3 July 2012, at the end of the final leg from Lorient, France, which is twinned with Galway.
The Chinese-Irish entry to the race, Team Sanya, is proudly bearing the DiscoverIreland.com logo, marking the connection to Galway.
China and Ireland collaborated successfully in the previous Volvo Ocean Race with the Green Dragon. It finished fifth overall.
The Green Dragon was present in the Spanish port and traditional musicians performed onboard.
Her dockside poster read: ‘The race begins in Alicante, the party starts in Galway’.
As Ireland’s third largest city, Galway is celebrated in song and story throughout the world.
With spectacularly beautiful scenery, it offers a medley of contrasts – the wildest and remotest of countryside teamed with one of Europe’s most vibrant and popular cities.
Known as the cultural capital of Ireland, the city is also famed for its major festivals, including the Galway Arts Festival, the Galway Oyster Festival and the Galway Races.
In May 2009 an astounding 600,000 people visited the Volvo Ocean Race Village during its Galway stopover, taking part in a host of festival activities and prompting the race organisers to hold the city up as a model for others to follow.
The nearby seaside resort of Salthill also drew a further 120,000 visitors to watch the dramatic close-combat in-port racing from the shoreline.
Organisers in Galway have promised next July’s event will be bigger and better.
John Killeen, president of Let´s Do It Galway, who was also in Alicante for the start of the race, said: “Everybody we meet here is planning to come to Galway and, of course, we are encouraging them.”