Volvo Ocean Race wants to sail with Turkish boat
Emre Özpeynirci ISTANBUL / HÜRRİYET
The fleet of Volvo Open 70’s sail past downtown Auckland at the start of leg 5 from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil, during the Volvo Ocean Race on March 18. Volvo Ocean Race plans to expand despite adverse economic conditions by cutting costs, which the company hopes will bring in more teams from different countries. AP photoOrganizers of the Volvo Ocean Race, one of world’s leading offshore yacht races, have encouraged Turkey to enter a team in the prestigious competition.
“We want every boat to belong to a different country for the sake of the excitement the competition creates. We plan to cut the cost by 30 percent. A team of a boat and 11 crew costs 25 million euros for two years. The target is to bring down this figure to 15 million euros. Otherwise, it would be very hard to grow in the current crisis environment. Maybe a Turkish team may join in more comfortably,” said Knut Forstad, the chief executive of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The number of teams will initially rise from six to eight before eventually growing to 10, Forstad said.
250 mln euro windfall
Volvo Cars and the Volvo Group each own a 50 percent stake in the Volvo Ocean Race, which has a budget of 62 million euros. The racing events create an economic windfall of more than 250 million euros.
“One of the local teams could be Turkish Airlines or some other. I mention Turkish Airlines because I have started to see its advertisements all over the world. We negotiated with a few firms in Turkey two and a half years ago. Koç Holding was interested in the race, but there was no result,” he said.
Frostad said he wanted to hold one of the legs of the prestigious race in Turkey.
“Turkey is one of the few countries which was not negatively affected by the economic crisis. The country should present its power in various projects around the world. I think the Volvo Ocean Race, which attracts audiences of 1.5 billion, is a good example for these projects,” he said.
Competition organizers want Istanbul to become one of the ports of call for the race.
“We can establish a race between Spain and Istanbul. Istanbul is an attractive and intriguing city. It has to be part of this race,” Frostad said.