Today, the Volvo Ocean Race arrives in Gothenburg, giving the Swedish city the perfect opportunity to show itself on the international scene.
The location of the Ocean Race village will be in Frihamnen, an old port at the heart of the Gothenburg Harbour. Gothenburg, as a port city, is built in such a way that it allows you to enjoy the race in a unique setting, from anywhere along the harbour.
The sailing race is known as one of the longest and toughest professional sporting events in the world. This spectacular race has no prize money for the winning team. Instead, it is the Volvo Ocean Race Trophy that the teams are racing for. Each tournament adds another ring to the trophy, with the names of the winning sailors etched into the silver.
Future of Sustainability
The Volvo Ocean Race is incomparable in sports business. Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group continue to provide important stability to this event, which is something extraordinarily rewarding and valuable to other stakeholders.
The teams are racing in the same model of racing yacht, a Volvo Ocean 65. The yachts are equipped with a series of sensors that capture data from the farthest parts of the world's oceans.
Through the Volvo Ocean Race Science Program, these measurements will help to provide a more complete picture of the extent of plastic pollution and its impact on ocean life. The Program’s science partners include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) .
Stuart Templar, Volvo Cars Sustainability Director, has said that he is proud to be able to improve ocean health by supporting the science program. The project is very well suited to solving such a serious environmental problem.
Another environmental benefit is that Volvo is preparing to produce Econyl carpet inserts in its vehicles. This fabric is made of 100% recycled nylon, which also includes abandoned fishing nets regenerated from the seabed.
Volvo Cars announced plans to remove disposable plastics from all its offices, races and events around the world by the end of 2019. The company is trying to support the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign as much as possible. Volvo’s action on single-use plastics follows a donation of €300 000 in support of the Ocean Race’s Science Programme.
Electrical energy to Gothenburg
Together with the Volvo Ocean Race event, Gothenburg welcomes two electrically powered buses made by Volvo. The buses will transport visitors between Nordstan and Frihamnen, the racing area. Each bus can carry a total of 135 passengers at a time.
Following the event, the city will keep the buses. From June 25th, the new prototypes will be tested by integrating them into part of the existing public transport network.
Since 2015, Gothenburg has ten electric buses, some which are fully electric powered, and some which are hybrids. They are part of the ElectriCity project, where new solutions for sustainable urban traffic of the future are being developed, demonstrated and evaluated.
Global media coverage
"We have the opportunity to present the role of the Volvo group in today's society, as well as our strong efforts to develop sustainable transport solutions for tomorrow", said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Car Group.
The Volvo Ocean Race has media coverage in every corner of the world, and millions of fans follow the event on televisions, computers or mobile devices. Hundreds of thousands of people also visit the racing villages in each host harbour to watch the action live. There they can also enjoy a busy entertainment program, and see another side to the Volvo brand.
The Everest of sailing
The Volvo Ocean Race is known to many as the Everest of sailing. Nine months on the sea, the seven teams race each other over 36 weeks, covering over 45 000 nautical miles and stopping at 12 cities on six continents. They will cross the finishing line at the Hague, on the west coast of the Netherlands, in June.
“Imagine that you’re sitting there in your little boats in the middle of the ocean,” said Bouwe Bekking, the Dutch skipper of Team Brunel, to TIME magazine. “There are huge waves, huge winds, and you’re just on a tiny nutshell in the middle of nowhere. You realise actually how vulnerable you are.“
Life on board is primitive. To reduce weight, the crew exists on freeze-dried food. There is nowhere to shower or wash clothes. It is cold, it is wet, and there is no privacy. Crew members sleep in narrow net bunks hung below the deck, where it is noisy. On a good night, they get two to four hours of sleep.
“...it has dangers with it as it would if you were going to climb Everest, or I suppose anything where you’re somewhere where you won’t be able to get rescued,” Bekking said.
The final race for Volvo
This is the last time that Volvo will run the Ocean Race. In a press statement, the company recently announced plans to transfer the ownership of the race to Atlant Ocean Racing Spain S.L., who are already affiliated with the management and organisation of the race.
However, Volvo will still play a part in future events, contributing as a sponsor with a special focus on sustainability. The next edition of the race is planned for 2021-2022.
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