Over 20,000 people came down to Cardiff Bay in brilliant sunshine today to line the waterfront and bid farewell to the Volvo Ocean Race, with race organisers and locals celebrating one of the most successful events in the city’s proud history.
Over 180,000 visitors came to the Race Village during the two week stopover, attracted by the story of the challenge involved in the world’s most prestigious sailing event, but also to enjoy a range of activities and events staged by Cardiff Council and Welsh Government.
First Minister Carwyn Jones opened the Race Village and met the crews on departure. He said:
“It’s been a tremendous fortnight for Cardiff and for Wales in our Year of the Sea. The Volvo Ocean Race team have been hugely impressed with what we can create here, and people have come from around the world to enjoy our renowned hospitality. Once again this demonstrates the special appeal Wales has, and I’m sure we’ll enjoy its legacy for years to come.”
The Race fleet departed for Gothenburg on tranquil waters with the sun high in the sky, and they finish this 2017/18 edition in The Hague, after an arduous 45,000 nautical miles on the most testing oceans of the world.
“Cardiff has been a tremendous stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race,” said Karin Backlund, Executive Director of the Volvo Ocean Race. “The public turnout has exceeded all expectations and our corporate guests have enjoyed the best of Welsh hospitality. It’s been a great experience to return the race to its roots in the UK.”
The Race Village has christened a brand new event space for Cardiff Bay, as Council Leader Huw Thomas explained: “The Alexandra Head site has been a magnet for the crowds over 14 days, and with water on both sides and easy accessibility, will I’m sure be used for a variety of events in future. The Capital FM Cardiff Bay Beach Festival will be here in the summer holidays, and sailing fans can look forward to the Extreme Sailing Series returning over August Bank Holiday.”
Bidding farewell to his homeland, crew member Bleddyn Môn said: “As a Welshman I’d been looking forward to this stopover for a long time, and Cardiff has really put on a great show. Having the Volvo Ocean Race here places us on the world sailing map with the likes of Auckland and Cape Town.”
Nick Bice, Director of Boats and Maintenance with Volvo Ocean Race said: “There are good stopovers, and there are great stopovers – and Cardiff is a great stopover.”
With just two legs remaining in the Volvo Ocean Race the battle for the overall prize is tighter than ever, with three teams fighting for first place, Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE, and Team Brunel, winner of the transatlantic leg into Cardiff.