AFTER months of build up, the former Spanish King Juan Carlos I formally started the 2017 Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante.
An estimated 100,000 people filled every single vantage point to see the Emeritus King lead the formal farewell ceremony for the ships that are off on their around the world race on Sunday afternoon, with Lisbon in Portugal being the first port of call. This is the fourth time in a row that Alicante has been selected as the start of the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race and is due to host the next two in 2020 and 2023. This occasion was the first time that the former Spanish monarch has been present at the start, and was accompanied by the President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, and the mayor of Alicante Gabriel Echávarri.
The Race Village first opened its doors to visitors on October 11, and during the 12 days between opening and the departure of the race on Sunday, an estimated 400,000 people had passed through the village in the port. The area only has a capacity for 12,000 at any one time and was forced to temporarily close its doors at least three times during the opening period due to the excess numbers wanting to enjoy the experience and patiently queuing.