For the first time in a decade, the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race will stop in Miami this month, bringing six of the world’s fastest Open 70 sailboats with it.

The 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, formerly known as the Whitbread race, started on Oct. 29 in Alicante, Spain. This 39,270-mile race has already taken sailors to Cape Town, South Africa; Abu Dhabi; Sanya, China; Auckland, New Zealand; and most recently Itajaí, Brazil.

Its next stop is Miami from May 6-20, the only North American stopover in this race.

Sailors will then cross the Atlantic to Lisbon, Portugal; followed by Lorient, France; and end the race in Galway, Ireland.

American Capt. Ken Read of Newport, R.I., brought Puma in just 13 minutes ahead of overall leader Team Telefónica at the thrilling conclusion of the 6,700nm Leg 5 from New Zealand to Brazil.

The Southern Ocean lived up to its reputation, causing damages and injuries to most of the fleet, which reached speeds of more than 30 knots. Capt. Read and his crew have overcome some struggles to land where they are, including a broken mast on the first leg from Spain to South Africa.

Among the 11 crew aboard each of the six sailing yachts are the world’s best sailors including Olympic gold medalists, world champions and America’s Cup winners.

Yacht crew in South Florida can see this spectacular fleet of yachts up close at the international race village in downtown Miami.

Daily activities include water sports exhibitions, the in-port race on Saturday, May 19, Pro-Am races, an antique car and boat show, remote-controlled “Open 70” races, stand up paddle boarding, learn to sail, plus food, drinks and live entertainment.

The race village is open every day of the stopover — May 6-20 — from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and until 10 p.m. on weekends. It’s centered at Bicentennial Park on Biscayne Boulevard.

The yachts depart for Leg 7 at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 20.

In addition to seeing the yachts, yacht crew may like to participate in a beach clean-up on Saturday, May 12. A group has been traveling with the yachts and conducts these clean-up in every city. Rubbish collected will be used to create sculptures, one of which will be on show at the "Keep the Oceans Clean” dome in the race village.

SOURCE: The Triton
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