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Volvo Ocean Race is Returning to Docklands after 12 years

When the yacht race last visited, the event struggled to fill our vast open spaces. This time, organisers are settling for a cut-down version because there is not enough room.

Up to 175,000 visitors are expected to join the festivities on Harbour Esplanade during Christmas and New Year as the adventurers take their only break between Cape Town and Hong Kong. Last time, only two boats made the crossing unassisted.

Seven 65-foot yachts are competing in the round-the-world race. The craft will be tilted 26 degrees to get under the Bolte Bridge.

Race organiser Mark Turnbull told the August 30 Docklands Community Forum he wanted locals to “get on board”.

He said family entertainment would be provided daily at the race village and the public could also inspect the racing boats.

The yachts leave Cape Town on December 11 and it was expected they would arrive in Docklands on December 27.

“It could be the 26th, or it could even be the 25th,” Mr Turbull said.

He said the boats were an attraction in themselves. The boats will be moored in the south basin of Victoria Harbour, near the Cow up a Tree sculpture.

The race is having an awards night at Etihad Stadium on New Year’s Eve.

Negotiations to bring the race to Melbourne have been underway since late last year. It is hoped that Melbourne will become a regular stop-off in the biennial race.

Docklands Chamber of Commerce president Joh Maxwell said New Year’s Eve would be particularly spectacular here this year.

“Docklands is definitely the place to be this New Year’s Eve and we encourage all our businesses to make the most of the extra visitation the Volvo will bring,” she said.

Mr Turnbull said about 150 volunteers were needed and he appealed to locals.

Marketing manager Mathieu Shellard said he hoped Docklands workers would visit the race village for an after-work drink and entertainment. He said daily entertainment would become more adult in the evenings.

This article was originally published in the Docklands News (

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