Kochi, Dec.4 : Thousands of people attended the inaugural function of Volvo Ocean Race here on Wednesday evening and welcomed the participating teams of the race. Volvo Ocean Race is the most prestigious and spectacular round the world marathon ocean yacht racing competition. It is seen as the ultimate in extreme adventure sporting.
It was a delightful moment for the Kochities and various foreign tourists as they witnessed an unheard of event of this magnitude coming for the first time to India.
Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, inaugurated the Volvo Ocean Race Kochi stopover celebrations at the newly build race village in Willingdon island. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Kerala' Home and Tourism minister while presiding the function announced that the State tourism department had plans to construct a 'Marina' with state of the art facilities for anchoring 50 foreign yachts on the backwaters of Kochi at Bolgatty Island. With the arrival of the last yacht Team from Russia, all the eight participating yachts in the race have arrived in Kochi. Meanwhile, Ericsson 4 maintained the first position in completing the second leg with 26 points followed by Telefonica Blue, Puma, Ericsson, Green Dragon, Delta Lloyd, Telefonica Black and Team Russia. The Volvo Ocean Race commenced its round-the-world marathon sailing in October 2008 and in due course it will cover more than 39,000 nautical miles, visiting 11 ports across the world. Starting from Alicante in Spain, it wills have stopover at Cape Town, Cochin, Qingdao, Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway, Goteborg and Stockholm, before reaching the finishing line at St.Petersburg. The race's next destination is scheduled to be Singapore. All the teams will be leaving Kochi on December 13. By Juhan Samuel