The Volvo Ocean Race Is Coming To Hong Kong: Here's What To Expect
January 16, 2018 | BY Cherry Lai
Yachting fanatics and adrenaline junkies are in for a treat as the world's premier round-the-world sailing event, the Volvo Ocean Race, comes to Hong Kong for the first time from January 17 to 31.
Hailed the "Everest of sailing", this year's gruelling race started in Alicante, Spain last year and has brought the excitement to Lisbon, Cape Town and Melbourne. With just one day to go before the race reaches our shores, we round up what to not miss at the event:
A showcase of world-class sailing
Considered to be sailing's most gruelling event (sailors endure constant treacherous waves while temperatures range from -5 to +40 °C), seven international teams and the world’s elite sailors—including Olympic gold medallists Blair Tuke for New Zealand’s Team Mapfre and Martine Grael for Brazil’s Team AkzoNobel—will have crossed 45,000 nautical miles and four oceans in nine months by the time they cross the finish line in June 2018 in the Dutch port of The Hague.
A stunning Hong Kong pitstop
Against the iconic skyline, Hong Kong will be the finish line for the 4th leg of the race from Australia. The Hong Kong race to watch will be the HGC In-Port Race on January 27, 2pm at which the seven boats compete up and down Victoria Harbour for points.
The additional Hong Kong-specific ‘Around HK Island Race’ on January 28, 11:30am will see the boats race around the island waters before departing for New Zealand.
Hong Kong is in the lead
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, backed by Sun Hung Kai and its executive chairman, Lee Seng Huang, is flying the flag for Hong Kong as the city’s first competitor in the race’s history—and is currently at the top of the leaderboard on its sprint from Australia to Hong Kong after shooting to the front of the fleet this past weekend.
At the helm is skipper David Witt, the experienced heavy weather sailor who is returning to the race after a 20-year absence. Scallywag crewman John Fisher says, “Hong Kong is our hometown so for us to get a good result would be everything.”
Loads of live entertainment
In between the nail-biting races, nautical enthusiasts and families will find plenty of fun spread across the Kai Tak Runway Park at the two-week race festival. Don't miss having a go on the steering wheel with a full-sized race boat simulator, or experiencing being battered at sea via virtual reality headsets.
Hong Kong artists Sammi Cheng, Gin Lee, Ellen Loo and Adrian Fu will also be performing live at the HGC Stage on January 26 on the eve of the HGC in-port race.
Taking to the ocean to save the ocean
Furthermore, with the aim to raise awareness of ocean health issues and spark meaningful action in Asia, a special Ocean Summit will be held on January 22 at the Race Village's Volvo Pavilion to gather a host of industry leaders, sailors, NGOs and ocean advocates for a range of workshops and activities on the theme of global crisis of plastics in our oceans.
The Volvo Ocean Race will take place at the Kai Tak Runway Park from January 17 to 31. For the complete race schedule and other information, visit volvooceanracehk.com
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