Volvo has announced today that it will continue the sponsorship for the Ocean Race

Volvo has announced today that it will continue the sponsorship for the Ocean Race, confirming the next race will start in Europe in autumn 2005.

Jorma Halonen , President of Volvo Trucks and representing the Volvo Group, commented, “We within the Volvo Group found it very easy to make the decision to support the continuation of this race. The media returns have been overwhelming, and the response within the Volvo Group has been very positive. We are looking forward to another successful event starting in 2005, and I can assure you that we, within Volvo, feel a strong commitment to develop the race to even higher levels of success.”

This year’s event, featuring a mix of shorter course and long ocean racing legs, has resulted in some incredibly close racing and new world speed records. In terms of media coverage, the event has exceeded every expectation, with unprecedented television, radio, print and Internet coverage for a round the world sailing event. Through the first six (of nine) stopovers, the race had reached a cumulative television audience of over 650-million viewers, across major markets in Europe, the United States, South America, Australasia and Africa. Radio distribution through the BBC World Service, and Voice of America has brought the Volvo Ocean Race to millions of listeners while the event has resulted in nearly 13,000 press cuttings in monitored territories, through to the end of leg six. Finally, the event website, has reached nearly three-million unique visitors, making it the most widely viewed sailing Internet site.

Hans-Olov Olsson, President of Volvo Car Corporation, confirmed, “To be an owner of such a great event as this, has proven to be a really valuable asset. It works as a communicator both internally and externally, and just the pure TV and press coverage will give us our money back.”

With the 2001 – 2002 Volvo Ocean Race scheduled to finish in Kiel, Germany on the 9 June, thoughts are naturally turning to the next event, and Volvo has been evaluating the future direction the race should take, and what changes should be made to achieve this.

It is expected that the route will include stopovers in South Africa, Australasia, South America, the USA, and Europe. Details of the final course will be announced in the spring of 2003. Also currently under consideration is the possibility of including fleet racing whilst in port with points to count towards the final score.

Innovation has always been a signature of this event and discussions are now underway for the design of a new monohull race boat with decisions expected later this year.

One of the major objectives of the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 is to reduce the entry-level cost of a competitive campaign. Reducing the length of the event and the number of stopovers will significantly contribute to this. Another area where costs can be decreased is in the design, construction and sail plan of the race-boat and Volvo is considering a number of options.