Auckland, New Zealand’s ‘City of Sails’, has been confirmed as the halfway stopover port for the gruelling, round-the-world Global Ocean Race in 2014.
Legendary hospitality and an unmatched enthusiasm for sailing in a city known as one of the world’s leading yachting capitals influenced the organisers and the race fleet can look forward to a great reception, says Auckland Mayor Len Brown.
The Global Ocean Race (GOR) starts at Southampton in the United Kingdom on Sunday 21 September 2014, and the teams are expected to be in Auckland from late December through to mid-January 2015.
Nine teams from six countries are currently registered for the event including a New Zealand entry for the solo class from Graham Dalton - the elder brother of Emirates Team New Zealand managing director, Grant Dalton.
The Global Ocan Race organisation is working closely with ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) and Waterfront Auckland to showcase the 30,000-mile round-the-world race.
Mayor Brown says the stopover further enhances Auckland’s reputation as one of the world’s yachting capitals. “The America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race and now the Global Ocean Race tell the same story - Auckland is a destination world yachting can’t afford to ignore.”
ATEED chief executive Brett O’Riley says the organisation is delighted to welcome the fleet, international visitors, officials and spectators to Auckland.
“As a prominent sailing destination, I’m sure teams will be given a warm welcome. We can provide world-class marine services to crews of the GOR as they prepare for one of the most gruelling legs through the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn,” says O’Riley.
Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour has hosted many successful stopovers for major yacht races and facilities continue to be improved according to Waterfront Auckland chief John Dalzell.
“The Viaduct marina is the natural spectator home for yachting in Auckland and we are excited to see offshore boats return once again for the GOR stopover. It’s events like these which help make the Auckland waterfront the vibrant, enjoyable space that it is and I am sure many an enthusiast will jump at the chance to come down to view the boats and meet the sailors.”
GOR race director, Josh Hall, says Auckland is the prime choice for a stopover.
“Auckland’s hospitality for round-the-world race teams is legendary and public enthusiasm for sailing is virtually unmatched. Following the hardships of Leg 2 in the Indian Ocean, our teams will have easy access to expertise in all aspects of offshore yacht racing to repair any damage to sails or gear and prepare fully for the 4,000 miles of the Pacific’s Southern Ocean between New Zealand and Cape Horn in Leg 3,” says Hall.
Around 135,000 boats are registered in Auckland - the highest per capita boat ownership for any city in the world, with one in three Auckland households owning a boat. Formerly a commercial harbour, the city’s Viaduct Basin is an area ringed by apartments, offices and restaurants and is a familiar venue for international sailing events. In 2000 and 2003, the Viaduct Harbour was the base for the America’s Cup.