A CROWD of thousands lined the seafront of Alicante to see the start of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The seven yachts taking part set off this afternoon (October 11) on the first leg of the round the world race that has captured the public’s imagination.
The yachts – including one with an all-woman crew- have set off on the 6,000 nautical mile first leg to Cape Town in South Africa.
It is the third race in a row ( it is held every three years) that the teams have started from the Costa Blanca city. In a previous guise as the Whitbread Round the World RaceBritain had a monopoly on the race start with Portsmouth and Southampton being the starting points.
The race started with the boats gathering in front of the Playa del Postiguet. Team Brunei made the best start – but with a round the world trip in prospect it is more important for morale than actual times.
The Spanish crowds, swelled by the ranks of visitors from abroad, gave the teams a great send-off. “The number of people here today is incredible,” said Iker Martinez, Skipper of Spanish boat Mapfre.
The race which is over 35,000 miles long should take about nine months to complete.