The official launch of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) stopover in Guangzhou, China took place on September 24 at the foot of the Canton Tower – a popular scenic spot and the new symbol of the city of Guangzhou. Kenneth Fok, honorary chairman of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 Guangzhou Stopover Organising Committee, introduced the VOR concept to the local media, while displaying the original VOR trophy. He also announced a media co-operation with TVS1 and introduced Huang Tianwen, the director of TVS1, which is the economic business channel of Guandong TV.
In his opening speech, Fok said: “I believe the co-operation with TVS1 will play an important role in promoting the VOR in the region as well as bringing awareness of the sport of sailing in South China and beyond. This launch event has already attracted a lot of publicity and has been warmly welcomed by the public. As the oldest port in China, Guangzhou (previously called Canton) has been an important hub on the ancient maritime Silk Road and has always been a multicultural city known for its prosperous economy and trade. The fact that VOR stopover has been launched at the foot of the iconic Canton Tower, the most famous landmark of Guangzhou and the tallest tower in China, is very symbolic.”
The VOR will start from Alicante in Spain on October 22, 2017 and seven teams will begin their nine-month challenge for the VOR trophy. The race is scheduled to cover a total of 45,000Nm with stops in 12 iconic cities. For the first time in its race history, Guangzhou will be one of the stopovers, scheduled for January 31 to February 5, 2018. This will give an opportunity for local citizens to go on trial sails and watch an exciting in- port race between the competing yachts. The race village will be at Nansha Marina, Nansha Bay, Guangzhou.
While the sale of larger poweryachts has been in decline in China due to an anti-corruption crackdown over the past four years, sailing has been unaffected and now appears to have national and local government blessing.