Volvo gets on board with World Sailing and plans for offshore Olympics event
Volvo, the Swedish car company, is to increase its involvement in international offshore sailing and assist in developing the sport after agreeing a new sponsorship tie-up with World Sailing.
Through the agreement, announced yesterday, Volvo becomes the official automotive partner of World Sailing.
In addition, World Sailing has agreed to support the Volvo Ocean Race, the round-the-world yacht race owned by the Volvo Group, the 2017-18 edition of which begins later this year.
The deal also includes the creation of Volvo Ocean Race Academies, which will serve as training facilities for offshore sailors.
The two parties have said they will now work together on the proposed inclusion of an offshore sailing showcase event at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Kim Andersen, the president of World Sailing, commented: "They [Volvo] are an ambitious, forward thinking partner who match World Sailing's vision and mission for the entire sport. They will be a crucial partner for World Sailing, working with us across all of our titled events, sustainability programmes and will have exclusivity in the automotive sector.
"It is vital that World Sailing continue to aid growth across all aspects of the sport and our partnership with the Volvo Ocean Race allows us to be closely aligned with one of sports major events.”
Mark Tuner, chief executive of Volvo Ocean Race, added: "The partnership with World Sailing is important for us to show a long-term commitment to the sport and, equally, World Sailing's support and understanding of the Volvo Ocean Race does.
"But we need to create some steps underneath it like the Volvo Ocean Race Academies and ultimately a closer link to any Olympic offshore showcase event if approved by the IOC. If and when that goes through, the Volvo Ocean Race will be uniquely positioned to provide a path towards the Olympic Games, with a qualification or test event potentially taking place at one of our stopovers.”
Volvo had previously teamed up with World Sailing as the title sponsor of the Youth Sailing World Championships between 1999 and 2010.
Meanwhile, the Volvo Ocean Race is set to invest in new boats with 'foiling' and 'flying' technology that will feature in future editions of the event.
The organisers unveiled plans for new foil-assisted 60-foot monohull boats and ultra-quick flying catamarans in Gothenburg, Sweden, yesterday.
Turner told reporters that the Volvo Ocean Race will fund the construction of eight of each new type of boat, with the costs expected to reach €50 million ($55 million), according to a source cited by Reuters.
It is thought that the boats will compete in inshore harbour races at the stopover ports in the Volvo Ocean Race, possibly starting in 2019.
The 2017-18 edition begins in Alicante on 22 October, and so far five teams have been confirmed.
At present, the Volvo Ocean Race takes place every three years, but Turner wants it to be more frequent in the future.
He said: "We need to provide more continuity for our stakeholders. We’ll announce very soon whether the next race will be in 2019 or 2020 but whatever happens we’ll find a way to have race activity of some kind every calendar year.”