Kochi to host Volvo Ocean Race team at stopover

November 17th, 2008 - 7:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, Nov 17 (IANS) Kathakali dance performances, a sky diving show, snake boat races and other entertainment have been lined up for the eight competing crews of the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race when they arrive in this exotic Kerala destination Dec 3.Kerala will be their second stopover for this edition of the race. A series of events have been lined up at the Cochin Race Village, in Willingdon Island.

A press release by the Cochin Port, which is playing host to the stopover, said the 10-day event will create a festive mood at Willingdon Island and a stage will be set up for the numerous activities.

“Apart from cultural events, which will include kathakali, kalaripayattu and other Kerala performances, there will be microlite flying, a sky diving show, performances by a fusion band, a snake boat race and a navy cup regatta,” the release said.

The Volvo Ocean Race, which is also called the Everest of Sailing, is one of the most demanding and daring team sporting events held every four years. The 2008 edition has 11 ocean legs, seven inshore races and Cochin Port is the only destination chosen in India.

The race began in Alicante, Spain, on Oct 4 and will cover a total of 39,325 nautical miles over nine months and end in July 2009 at St. Petersburg, Russia.

The teams arrive at the Cochin Port from Cape Town, which they left early this month. After a 10-day stopover, they leave for Singapore Dec 13.

Besides the eight competition yachts, Cochin Port will also welcome four luxury cruise vessels during the stopover. The cruise liners - the Legend of the Seas, Celebrity Quest, Seabourne Spirit and Nautica - are expected to bring a further 5,000 foreign tourists here to witness the event.

This is the first time that any port in the country has been selected as a stopover for the world famous yacht race.

The Kerala tourism department and Cochin Port Trust (CPT) will spend a whopping Rs.300 million for the arrangements.

Kerala tourism is likely to be a big beneficiary from the event, as the organisers have sought close to 1,500 high quality rooms and another 3,500 rooms for the people who would come from various parts of the globe to be with the race teams.

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