Fresh from the Southern Ocean, a French reconnaissance team is expected to sail into Wellington tomorrow (6 March) as part of preparations for the first SolOceans single-handed round-the-world yacht race in 2009.
The two-strong crew, aboard one of the 16-metre monohulls that will compete in the SolOceans, is visiting Wellington to check out the facilities that will greet the entrants expected to take part in the gruelling and dangerous race.
The reconnaissance yacht Bostik is due into Wellington around 5.00pm tomorrow, weather permitting.
And journalists are welcome to meet the crew at a reception to be held by Mayor Kerry Prendergast from 6.30pm on Friday 7 March in the Town Hall Council Chamber.
Wellington has been chosen as the only stopover for the entrants in the SolOceans, which will start in Normandy, France, on 25 October 2009 and finish in the same place. The SolOceans race will then be run every two years after that.
Mayor Prendergast says the SolOceans will be an adventure race with a serious purpose. Each of the identical yachts will carry scientific equipment allowing the automatic and continuous collection of environmental data in the Southern Ocean and other areas largely unexplored.
"We are absolutely delighted to be chosen as the first leg destination for the SolOceans race – which combines bravery and competition with a collective desire to raise global consciousness about the state of our oceans.
"We look forward to welcoming the reconnaissance crew this week – and welcoming the race yachts into our beautiful harbour at the end of next year."