Sanya Chosen Chinese Host of Volvo Ocean Race.

Photo by Paul Todd

The pieces of the puzzle that is the route for the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race are falling into place as the host cities make their announcements one after the other.

Given the importance of China to the Volvo Group, the question was never – would the race go back to China, but which of the cities competing for attention on the world stage would get to host the event.

Volvo Ocean Race organisers have confirmed that the race will re-visit Sanya – China’s “Hawaii”. The stop-over will be placed between Abu Dhabi and Auckland on the race route.

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad said:

“In many ways Sanya proved to be the best kept secret in sailing. The first-rate facilities, the perfect sailing conditions and the warmth of the people added up to an eye-opening and massively successful stop and I’m looking forward to an even better experience in 2014-15.”

China is very important to everyone involved in this event. We were given an exceptional welcome by Sanya in the last edition, with the stopover providing a unique take on the Race, and it’s gratifying to know we will be back to build on our legacy.”

The announcement implies that this deal is a one-off and that if China is going to be a stop in the 13th edition of the race in 2017/18, it will be in a different port. The race has a preference to sign up cities for multiple editions in order to de-risk the event for teams, sponsors and other stakeholders.

Also missing from the announcement was any news about a Chinese based entry in the race. In the previous edition, Team Sanya suffered as a result of the old ‘arms-race’ conditions of the race. The new one-design regime should allow a similar team to be more competitive next time around.

The route is pretty much complete. The only missing bit is whether there will be a stop between Lisbon and the finish in Gothenburg. Organisers said that the 2014/15 race would look very similar to the last edition and it does. Further announcements are promised soon.

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