Register to comment and receive news in your inboxRegister or Log in

V&A Waterfront ready to welcome return of iconic Ocean Race to Cape Town

The prestigious Ocean Race makes its way to the V&A Waterfront to generate awareness around the vital ocean economy as well as the importance in sustainably protecting our marine ecosystems.

The V&A Waterfront will proudly be hosting the Ocean Race in Cape Town. Taking place between the 8th and 26th of February 2023, the 60 000km Ocean Race is a world-class platform to showcase the South African Maritime and Ocean sectors to both South African and international audiences.

The race comprises, a fleet of five fully crewed IMOCA 60s. The five IMOCA yachts with some of the best offshore sailors from around the world left Cabo Verde on Wednesday afternoon on their two-week race to the Mother City. The first yachts are expected to arrive in Cape Town from the on 9th of February.

On the 26th of February, the yachts will set sail from Cape Town on the longest leg of the race in its history, a 12 750 nautical mile, 34-day marathon to Itajaí, Brazil. This will take the crews down to the Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties of the Southern Ocean. Antarctica will be to the right and the fleet will pass all three great southern Capes, the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn nonstop. From Brazil the race takes the crews to Newport, Rhode Island (USA), then Aarhus, Denmark, a fly-by via Kiel, in Germany, then a stopover in The Hague, the Netherlands, before a final stretch to Genova, Italy for a Mediterranean grand finale at the end of June 2023.

The 2022–23 race marks the 12th consecutive time that Cape Town has hosted a stopover for the Ocean Race. No other stopover city is as closely associated with The Ocean Race, in its many formats as Cape Town, which has so far welcomed the around-the-world fleet – making it the most visited – and most anticipated – stopover in the event’s history.

V&A Waterfront CEO, David Green said that the Ocean Race’s presence at the Waterfront has been a catalyst for the evolution around the potential of what the oceans economy can look like for the Western Cape, and South Africa.

Green said: “Because of our extraordinary location, at the gateway to the Southern Oceans, the ocean is at the heart of the V&A Waterfront’s vision, and we have adopted the mutually reinforcing goals of growing the opportunities relating to the ocean economy, including creating jobs, while developing and exercising best-practice ocean stewardship.”

Fun for the whole family

The popular event will see a roll-out of fun activities, educational programmes and projects to promote environmental and marine sustainability. At the V & A Waterfront, the free-to-enter public village Ocean Live Park will open on the 8th of February from 10:00 to 19:00 daily and it will be packed with activities for the whole family.

The Sustainability Pavilion will provide an Immersive Experience for children and adults to be educated and inspired about the Ocean as well as an upcycled art exhibition. 

The Two Oceans Aquarium will be hosting various events including the inaugural Ocean Innovation Africa Summit, Trash Bash Beach Clean-up, Ocean Race Learning Programme, and a Valentines Dinner.

The Ocean Sports Festival will be kicked off between the 12th and 19th of February, followed by Dragon Boat Racing, and the V&A Waterfront MTN Take the Stage performance at the amphitheatre.

The Ocean Race’s One Blue Voice Campaign is an initiative to drive public support for ocean rights. The campaign aims to give the ocean a voice and put in place a global framework for protecting the marine environment.

One of the most prominent teams participating in the race, 11th Hour Racing, has South Africa’s own Zandile Ndhlovu “The Mermaid” at the face of its campaign to protect the ocean. 11th Hour Racing is a US-based foundation that works with sailing, maritime and coastal communities for the ocean.

Working towards a shared value ecosystem

The V&A Waterfront first hosted what was then known as Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race in 1997.  The first edition of the world Yacht Race was known as the Volvo Ocean Race in 2014, 2015 and 2017. The race catapulted South Africa into the international spotlight, in a similar manner to what was achieved with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The event was viewed by over 150 million people around the world and contributed more than R540m to the national economy.

The nature of this global race is that it is a showcase of the ocean’s economy and positions South Africa as a serious maritime economy, through the association with other global host cities.

Green said: “In order to deliver the Ocean Race, you need world class infrastructure, from repair facilities to hospitality and many other critical services and logistics to enable a global event of this magnitude. All of this is offered by the V&A Waterfront, a national economic asset for South Africa’s coastal, marine and ocean economies.”

“The Waterfront is proud to be host to The Ocean Race. We are even more excited about its global vision for the care of our oceans and are ready to welcome it back to our shores,” adds Green.