Yachting: Auckland to host next two Volvo Ocean Races

Auckland will remain as a stopover on the Volvo Ocean Race for at least the next two instalments in 2014/15 and 2017/18 and it will not be contingent on a New Zealand boat entering the round-the-world yacht race.

Auckland was one of 33 cities bidding to make the cut to be one of the 10 stopovers. The City of Sails was the fourth stopover in last year's race and the first time it had hosted the event since the 2001/2002 race.

Team New Zealand's Camper contested last year's race, finishing second overall behind Groupama, but no New Zealand team has yet committed to the next race.

The next two editions will be contested in a new high-performance yacht, the Volvo Ocean 65, designed by Farr Yacht Design in the US and built by a consortium of boatyards in the UK, France, Italy and Switzerland.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development will invest $5.5 million into hosting the two races, which is expected to inject $7.49 million into the Auckland region's GDP.

"This is an exciting win for Auckland,'' Auckland Mayor Len Brown said.

"New Zealand's fabled sailing heritage, and the affinity Aucklanders have with the sea which surrounds us, makes this city the perfect Volvo Ocean Race destination.

"My goal is for Auckland to become the world's most liveable city. A key component of us meeting that goal, and delivering on our ambitious economic transformation objectives, is to play host to major events such as the next two Volvo Ocean Races.''

An economic impact study found last year's stopover injected $5.96 million into the Auckland economy. That figure meant a 194 per cent regional return on investment, after the Auckland Council and Government's major events development fund both contributed $1.5 million in funding for the stopover.

- The Aucklander

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