The news will delight fans in The Netherlands who were already celebrating last month the entrance of Team Brunel for the 12th edition starting on October 4 this year and the follow-up revelation that the professional training company Schouten Global are planning their own Dutch campaign in 2017-18.
The boats are due to arrive on Friday, June 19, 2015 after sailing from the French port of Lorient and then continue racing the following day with a resumption with the same time gaps between them as when they arrived.
The public can get close to the boats and the sailors as they watch the clock tick and get ready to hoist the sails again and complete the final leg of the nine-month marathon in Gothenburg, Sweden.
For Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad, the choice about where to stage the pit-stop was easy.
Millions around the world follow offshore racing’s leading crewed event but there are few places where that support is greater than in The Netherlands.
That passion was unleashed to full effect last month when the Dutch-backed Team Brunel campaign, skippered by six-time race legend Bouwe Bekking, was launched to a major media fanfare in Amsterdam.
A few weeks later, Schouten Global announced they would be a sponsor of that boat and were working on having their own for the 13th edition.
“The Netherlands is, like New Zealand, a place where sailing in general and the Volvo Ocean Race in particular has a high awareness and a long history. We want to support that,” said Frostad.
The event organisers still have fresh memories of the last time the race sailed close to Dutch shores and that was also an influence in taking the decision.
“In 2008-09, the fleet did a loop close to The Hague for the Dutch fans and it was a success. This time it will be even bigger because the boats will actually come to shore and they can actually touch them and meet the sailors,” said Race COO Tom Touber.
Karsten Klein, City Council Member of Sports, Youth and Welfare for The Hague, shares Touber’s view: "I am very proud that the Volvo Ocean Race chose our city as the only pit-stop in the 2014-15 edition.
“The Hague has a long sailing and watersports tradition and the pit-stop fits perfectly. It is not only a sportive highlight, but also a top sporting event for the whole city and its inhabitants."
The harbour and the breakwaters in The Hague could not offer a better viewing spot for the crowds. It is close to the sea and the resumption on June 20 will be from the famous port to offer a ringside view for a city that boasts a total population of over a million.
The city hosts many international institutions including the International Court of Justice and it also is the seat of the Dutch government and parliament.
The Hague is a very popular sea-front resort that attracts more than a million visitors from around the world every year and is the country’s second most visited destination after the capital Amsterdam.
Additionally, organisers are expecting people from throughout the country and also nearby Germany to welcome the boats in and wave them out.
The Hague and the Race are planning major public events including music concerts, festivals and many other attractions, some of which will feature the Team Brunel crew and their international rivals.
History of The Netherlands in the race
- The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race will be the second time The Netherlands is included on the official race route. The 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race featured a stopover in Rotterdam. In the 2008-09 edition, there were 2 waypoints on the Dutch coast during the Leg from Galway to Marstrand.
- Bouwe Bekking was the last Dutch skipper in the race in 2008-09 with Telefónica Blue. The 2014-15 edition with Team Brunel will be his 7th participation.
- ABN AMRO ONE skippered by Mike Sanderson (NZL) was the winning team in the 2005-06 edition of the race – the third victory for the Netherlands in the history of the race.
- Cornelis (Conny) van Rietschoten was skipper and winner of both the 1977-78 and 1981-82 editions of the Whitbread onboard Flyer and Flyer II and is the only skipper to have won the race twice.
- Hans Bouscholte (1997-98 on BrunelSunergy) and Roy Heiner (1997-98 on BrunelSunergy) were the last Dutch skippers with a Dutch entry to participate in the race.
- The last Dutch campaign in the race was Team Delta Lloyd in 2008-09.The first Dutch sailor in the race was Tjerk M. Romke de Vries. He sailed onboard Sayula II, winner of the first edition of the race in 1973-74.
Photo by Willem Vermeij