The gates to the Race Village opened at 18:00 local time Wednesday afternoon, with an opening ceremony, entertainment and fireworks planned throughout the evening.
Beginning as early as Thursday morning - a public holiday in Alicante - the fleet will start arriving from the Prologue Leg.
So what can visitors find in the Alicante Race Village?
• An upgraded Pit Lane, featuring cool new Team Bases
• Suppliers Corner, with all the different materials that go into making the Volvo Ocean 65s
• The Musto Grinding Challenge – with a chance to go up against your family and friends in the race to raise the sails
• iBeacons with updates, offers and information delivered directly to smartphones via the Volvo Ocean Race app,
• History and Host City panels with pictures and information
And if you're coming to the Alicante Race Village, don't forget to get your face painted in the colours of your favourite team when you arrive!
Way Finding Towers
In every one of our Race Villages you’ll find four Way Finding towers, which will help you navigate the entire experience. Each Way Finding Tower features two screens that will keep you updated on the Race leaderboard, and provide information on local events to make sure you don’t miss anything. You’ll also find a 3D map of the Race Village, so let the journey begin…
New for 2017-18 are the seven innovative Team Bases – designed to provide the ultimate window into the world of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Team Bases take pride of place in a brand new Pit Lane experience, and fans will be able to walk between all of them to learn about the skippers, crews and sponsors. The ground floor of each Team Base will be open to the public, allowing fans to see how the crews work day to day. Visitors will also be able to pick up posters signed by the sailors in at each Team Base.
This is your chance to get up close and personal with the actual Volvo Ocean 65 race boats sailed in the race as they sit dockside. Each boat will be manned by volunteers to explain the ins and outs of this fleet of ocean racing machines.
At the heart of each Race Village is The Globe – a large dome that serves as our Sustainability Centre and a place to take a few minutes to discover more about the growing problem of plastic pollution and the need to act now. Videos in The Globe will also give visitors an insight into the Volvo Ocean Race itself, revealing more about the characters who have raced in it over the decades, their obsession to win, and the challenges they have faced. Visitors will also have a chance to see the Sustainability Exhibition, and sign a pledge to protect our oceans.
AkzoNobel Race Boat Experience
Could you give up all your home comforts and live on team AkzoNobel’s 65ft racing yacht with your team mates for more than eight months? Check out our AkzoNobel Race Boat Experience to find out. Explore the boat that the sailors call home – crawl into a bunk, squeeze into the galley and the workstations and learn just how hard it is to do the simple things, like use the bathroom. Listen to the noises the boat makes as it blasts through the world's toughest environments. Head up on deck and get a selfie behind the wheel. Thanks to Inmarsat, different screens will show the amazing content that our OBRs produce on board.
The Boatyard Supplier Corner
The Boatyard returns to the Race Village Experience in 2017-18, allowing the public to get closer to the race than ever before. A viewing line inside the specialist facility will let fans watch the race's team of expert boatbuilders hard at work as they carry out maintenance on the fleet of identical Volvo Ocean 65s. Whatever the weather gods throw at the fleet, the Boatyard team can fix it – and the public can watch it being done. An additional space for this race is the Suppliers Corner, where fans will be able to touch and feel all the different components of the boat, provided by our Official Suppliers.
Musto Grinding Challenge
Fancy seeing if you've got the strength to be a Volvo Ocean Race sailor? The Musto Grinding Challenge features a grinding pedestal just like the ones on the Volvo Ocean 65, and simulates raising a sail. Try to beat the fastest time of the day, or compete against your mates to see who can conquer the Musto Grinding Challenge the quickest. There's even a 'junior' setting so kids can have a go too!
The Sailors Terrace will host the race's hospitality and guest sailor programmes, while paying tribute to the brave sailors who have taken part in the race over the past decades in the Legends Bar. The ground floor will be used to hold safety and race briefings, and other special events. It will be open to the public at certain times. The Trophy will be visible in the Ground Floor, and a Mobile Race Control will show visitors how the fleet is tracked from our headquarters in Alicante.
Race History and Host City panels
Learn about the history of the Volvo Ocean Race, and discover all 12 of our Host Cities, via this series of informative and highly visual panels at every Race Village.
Our albatross mascot Wisdom is back for 2017-18 to bring extra cheer to the Race Village while spreading an important message for the future of our planet. Wisdom is named after a 65-year-old albatross that's the world's oldest wild bird. Wisdom will be spreading the sustainability message at all of the Volvo Ocean Race stopovers.
And it all starts in Alicante on Wednesday evening.