Volvo Car Ireland is to become the new title sponsor of the prestigious Round Ireland Yacht Race.
2016 marks the 36th year anniversary of the biennial race, renowned as one of the world’s most gruelling off-shore challenges, attracting entries from the UK, across Europe and as far afield as Russia, the USA and New Zealand as well as the home country.
Run by Wicklow Sailing Club, the Round Ireland Yacht Race is the only RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) race based in Ireland and is one of the longest off-shore race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club calendar, taking up to 7 days to complete. The first race took place in 1980 with only thirteen boats. Since then, held biennially, the fleet has grown steadily, attracting a record sixty boats.
The Race is regarded as near equivalent in terms of rating points to the Fastnet Race, the classic offshore race, which runs in alternate years to the Round Ireland.
The Volvo sponsorship marks the expansion of the company’s global partnership with sailing. Already renowned as owners of the Volvo Round the World Yacht Race and title sponsors of Cork Week and the Dún Laoghaire regatta, the Round Ireland title sponsorship agreement firmly consolidates Volvo’s position as leaders in sailing both in Ireland and internationally.
The Round Ireland course, starting and finishing in Wicklow, brings entrants through widely different sea types and coastlines, from the Atlantic Ocean to the more sheltered Irish Sea, with difficult tidal gates, particularly around the North Eastern coast and navigational challenges requiring day and night tactical decisions at every change of forecast.
The Volvo sponsorship comes at a pivotal time in the Race’s development. Last year saw the establishment of a Dún Laoghaire base through a partnership with the Royal Irish Yacht Club, providing facilities thereby allowing larger yachts to compete. Race organisers have also just announced a further expansion to include a multi-hull category for the first time ever in its 36 year history.
Since the multi-hull expansion was announced, a UK giant 70-foot trimaran is already planning to compete in the 2016 edition of the race.
Adrian Yeates, Managing Director Volvo Car Ireland commented:
Volvo Car Ireland is proud to be so closely involved with such a prestigious sailing event as the Round Ireland Yacht Race. The Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s leading offshore race and is a truly global event, involving state-of-the-art boats and high-performance competition sailing on the world’s roughest seas. The Round Ireland offers clear points of connection with Volvo’s image, including a long-term commitment to safety, a readiness for adventure and a deep passion for design.”
Race Organiser Theo Phelan says Wicklow Sailing Club is delighted to announce Volvo as title sponsor of the race:
“Volvo represents our ultimate choice of sponsor for the Round Ireland Yacht Race, an alignment of the ideologies of strength, longevity, trusted reputation and determination. Volvo has a long heritage in sailing and an intricate understanding of the sport. Over the past four years, the focus of Wicklow Sailing Club has been to develop and expand the race and Volvo has come on board at an important time in the consolidation of this expansion. 2016 is set to be an epic year for the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race.”