Touchdown! 24-hour Dutch stop offers thrilling twist

Text Agathe Armand
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Touchdown! 24-hour Dutch stop offers thrilling twist Text Agathe Armand
 
There are few places where the love of sailing is greater than in The Netherlands. A 24-hour pit-stop in the iconic Dutch port of The Hague is now bringing the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 boats within touching distance of the fans.

Last month, Dutch fans celebrated the entrance of Team Brunel for the 12th edition starting on October 4 this year. They cheered the follow-up revelation that the professional training company Schouten Global are planning their own Dutch campaign in 2017-18.

And they now have one more reason to rejoice: the race will stop in The Netherlands during the final leg of the race.   

The boats are due to arrive in The Hague on Friday, June 19, 2015 after sailing from the French port of Lorient and they will continue racing to Gothenburg, Sweden on the following day. Racing will resume with the same time gaps between the boats as when they arrived.

“The Netherlands is, like New Zealand, a place where sailing in general and the Volvo Ocean Race in particular has a high awareness and a long history,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. “We want to support that.”

The event organisers still have fresh memories of the last time the race sailed close to Dutch shores and that was also an influence in taking the decision to include The Netherlands in the route.

“In 2008-09, the fleet did a loop close to The Hague for the Dutch fans and it was a great success. This time it will be even bigger because the boats will actually come to shore,” said Race COO Tom Touber.

Music concerts, festivals and many other attractions will welcome the crowds in The Hague, a very popular sea-front resort and a city that boasts a total population of over one million. The harbour and the breakwater offer a perfect viewing spot close to the sea and the resumption of racing on June 20 will be from the famous port itself.

“This pit-stop is a great opportunity,” added Touber. “It won’t influence the timing of the leg as the route through the Channel is a lot shorter, and it will allow the fans to see the race up close, touch the boats and meet the sailors. It’s about visiting a country with passion and emotion for the race.”