When the yachts competing in the 2014 Volvo Ocean Race arrive in Cape Town this weekend they can expect a warm African welcome at the V&A Waterfront. But the fun won’t be limited to sailors. Even those who don’t know starboard from port can look forward to being thoroughly entertained at the official Race Village between Saturday and Wednesday, November 1 and 19.
The Village, positioned on Quay Six in front of the Table Bay Hotel, will be open to the public to explore at will and to enjoy the multitude of activities planned for each day. The village opens at 2pm this Saturday. Thereafter it will be open daily from 10am to 9pm.
On opening day visitors can expect a fun day of entertainment, including free live performances by popular musicians such as rocker Ard Matthews and 2011 ‘Idols’ finalist Mark Haze in the evening. The boating community will form part of the on-the-water experience by mooring their vessels between Jetty 1 and 2 where they can watch the celebration from their boats.
The yachts participating in the Volvo Ocean Race are currently expected to arrive between Sunday and Thursday, November 2 and 6.
Other daily activities to be hosted at the Race Village over the official stopover period include a Volvo Ocean Film Festival and a variety of activities that form part of an Open Ocean Festival. Capetonians can also expect to see the yachts and crews participating in a number of races in and around Table Bay. Different pavilions sponsored by Volvo and the various yacht syndicates are open to the public for daily exhibitions and activities.
The new one design Volvo Ocean 65 yachts are true racing machines, designed to level the playing fields. Leg wins now come down to the grit, determination and sailing skill of the crew. Each yacht, which costs EUR4.5 million, is equally impressive out of the water, boasting a keel length of 4.7m.
A special boat yard set up on North Wharf will give the entire family an opportunity to view the yachts from all angles. Between November 2 and 12 each yacht will be lifted onto special cradles. While they are hoisted out of the water, maintenance crew positioned on special platforms built into each cradle will prepare the yachts for the next arduous leg of the race.
Seeing the yachts on cradles is one thing, but this year, visitors can explore a cross section of a racing boat at the Volvo Ocean Race VO 65 exhibition. They are welcome to climb inside and to crawl into the bunker to experience the limited space the sailors call home for almost nine months. The exhibition will be on display at the Pierhead in the vicinity of Den Anker, Mondiall and Hildebrand restaurants.
Adventure seekers wanting to experience the speed at which the yachts race across the sea can do so at the Volvo 40 Knots Experience. A skilled driver will explain the different sea conditions the sailors face each day, before taking them out to sea to experience the sheer thrill of travelling at 40 knots. The experience is open to the public but booking is essential. This can be done at the Race Village.
And it doesn’t stop there. Younger visitors will be delighted by the free Volvo-themed activities planned for them at the Kids’ Ahoy playground outside the Amphitheatre, while the free Amphitheatre music concerts will entertain the entire family between 6pm and 7pm. Local band GoodLuck will get the crowd in the mood for summer on November 2. They will be followed by Tucan Tucan on November 8 and Natasha Meister on November 16.