Sailing: Round-world race to start from Spain

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The Independent Online

Just after celebrating the 30th anniversary of its birth in Britain, the Volvo Ocean Race yesterday announced it would be moving the start of its round-the-world event to Spain.

Glenn Bourke, the chief executive, said that he would be taking the start on 12 November 2005 to the Bay of Coruña and the cities of Vigo and Sangenjo.

"The case made by the Galician government was so strong and persuasive that we had no hesitation in bringing our event to the region," Bourke said. The race is still expected to stop over in Southampton.

The clinching bonus was the region being first to announce a fully funded entry for the race in the new Volvo 70. Galicia is anxious to use the race as a platform for telling the world that the oil spillage clean-up, which affected its tourism and fishing, has been successful.

Russell Coutts, the skipper of Alinghi, who won his third successive America's Cup in March after leading both a challenge and a defence for his native New Zealand, was in Barcelona yesterday to pick up the World Sailor of the Year award at the annual meeting of the sport's governing body, the International Sailing Federation. Norway's Siren Sundby, 20, won the women's award.