The 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race finally has an anchor.
Organizers of the regatta announced yesterday at a news conference in Madrid, Spain, that the fleet will begin its 31,000-mile circumnavigation in Vigo, Spain, an Atlantic port city just north of Portugal.
The race will start on Nov. 12. It will make a 23-day stop in the ports of Baltimore and Annapolis in April 2006 before pushing across the Atlantic for the finish line at a yet-to-be named Baltic Sea port in early June.
This is the first time since the event, founded in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World, will be starting outside Great Britain. A more southerly starting line is one of the strategies being used to trim the length of the race by several weeks.
Vigo, with 287,700 residents, is Spain's 14th-largest city. It is a fishing town with a rich nautical history.
Volvo Ocean Race organizers hope to have 10 boats compete. As part of the announcement yesterday, a Spanish telecommunications company, Tele- fM-snica, confirmed that it will be the major sponsor of a sailing team in the race.
That entry would join the Chesapeake region syndicate Team Kan-do, Australian syndicate Premier Challenge and a team led by veteran Volvo skippers Neal and Lisa McDonald.