Gotland Runt, the Nordic region’s biggest and most classic offshore racing event, has joined forces with technical consultants ÅF and changed its name to ÅF Offshore Race. In addition, the race will now be starting from Stockholm, instead of Sandhamn. Tens of thousands of Stockholm residents will now be able to follow the start on 6 July 2011 and every year from now on.
The ÅF Offshore Race will comprise two interim stages. The first stage will start in central Stockholm, finishing in Sandhamn. The second stage stretches from Sandhamn, around Gotland, and back.
Jacob Wallenberg, KSSS Chairman and event organiser, said, ”Our vision at KSSS is to be leaders in sailing. This means we need to constantly develop our events so that we stay appealing, in both sporting and commercial terms. This is exactly what we’ll be achieving by moving the start to central Stockholm. The change will enable thousands of spectators gathered on the capital’s rocks and wharfs to watch the start. We’re convinced the event will be a real crowd puller, as well as helping generate further interest in Swedish sailing.”
Jonas Wiström, ÅF’s CEO, said, ”It feels fantastic that we’re able to play a part in taking Sweden’s finest regatta into the next era. Offshore racing is a climate-smart sport, which perfectly suits ÅF’s profile. Our partnership with KSSS also allows us to assist them with their environmental work, both during the ÅF Offshore Race and in the club’s other activities.”
This year’s edition of the ÅF Offshore Race will see both the elite class and classic boats sailing the new route. The remaining classes will start from Sandhamn, just as before. From the event’s 2012 edition, the plan is for the entire line-up to start from central Stockholm.
Ulla Hamilton, Enterprise Commissioner (Moderaterna), said, ”I’d like to wish Sweden’s premier offshore racing event a warm welcome to the capital city. Stockholm is world renowned for its close proximity to water, and events such as these dovetail perfectly with this impression.”
The event’s change of name to ÅF Offshore Race is linked to ÅF’s new role as event title sponsor. Initially, ÅF’s commitment extends up to and including 2016.