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6 May 2012, 16:37UTC

Miami opens doors as race heats up

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PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race
The Downtown Miami Race Village is ready to host one of the closest finishes of the race yet after throwing open its gates to the public today ahead of Monday’s official opening ceremony.

“The Volvo Ocean Race fits in somewhere between sailing and adventure. It’s one of the last true human adventures still in existence and I think people in Miami are into that" - - Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad

While PUMA were feeling the heat at the front of the Leg 6 race to their home country, temperatures were soaring at Florida’s Bicentennial Park as locals checked out where the fleet will finish around May 9.
 
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad said he believed the locals’ relationship with the sea and their raw passion for sport added to the family friendly atmosphere of the race village.
 
“The Volvo Ocean Race fits in somewhere between sailing and adventure," he said.“It’s one of the last true human adventures still in existence and I think people in Miami are into that. This is different to anything they have in Miami and anything in Florida and you have to experience it to understand it.”
 
Volvo Ocean Race Miami Inc. board president Don Poole said one of the aims of his not-for-profit organisation, which is assisting race organisers, was to boost the profile of and participation in sailing.
 
“Miami is a very multicultural city and there are people here who love sailing, and people here who don’t know anything about sailing,’’ he said.
 
“One of our objectives is to get them to come to our village for great concerts, steam boat racing, good food and the great pavilions we have and we’ll expose them to sailing and win some new sailing enthusiasts for the future.”
 
The anticipated nail-biting finish of the Leg 6 race from Itajaí, Brazil to Miami is sure to impress even those who know nothing about sailing, Frostad reckons.
 
“I think we have a great race on our hands,” Frostad said. “We have the closest leg yet, and I think we’ll be up for a big surprise at the end.”
 
The Downtown Miami Race Village is free to enter and open from May 6 to 20, from 1000 to 1900 Sunday to Thursday, and 1000 to 2200 on Friday and Saturday.
 
Located at Bicentennial Park, the race village consists of dynamic entertainment, interactive pavilions, food stalls, sailing opportunities and events including live concerts and shows, all for free.

The village will also offer an extreme sailing ride-simulator, a 3D-cinema featuring the history of the 39-year-old Volvo Ocean Race and a pedestal grinding challenge.

To cap it off locals and fans alike will have the chance to get up close to the Volvo Open 70s and their sailors. They can watch them in action on May 18 in the Pro-Am Race, May 19 in the PORTMIAMI IN-PORT RACE and the start of the Leg 7 race to Lisbon on May 20.

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PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad is interviewed by TV in the Downtown Miami Race Village, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.

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PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad is interviewed by TV 10 in the Downtown Miami Race Village, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.

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PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race

Volunteers arrive in the Downtown Miami Race Village, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.

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PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race

Downtown Miami Race Village opening Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.