Volvo Ocean Race returns to Australia

1 min

Melbourne (AFP)

The round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race will stop off in Australia for the first time in more than a decade after Melbourne was added as a host port to the gruelling sailing event, organisers said Friday.

The race, which takes almost nine months to complete and covers 45,000 nautical miles (83,340 kilometres), will see competitors arrive in Melbourne from Cape Town around Christmas Day this year.

"Having been born in Australia myself, I couldn't be more excited to see the race head Down Under," Volvo Ocean Race chief operating officer Richard Mason said in a statement.

"I know that sailing fans across the nation will be full of excitement to see the boats and sailors for themselves."

The 43-year-old race has stopped in Australia seven times previously, with the last visit in Melbourne in 2005-06.

The 2017-18 route has 10 legs and visits 12 cities. It kicks off in Alicante, Spain on October 22 with the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet heading to Lisbon, Cape Town and then Melbourne.

It is expected to finish in The Hague in the Netherlands on June 30, 2018.