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Wales set to welcome round-the-world yacht race for the first time

Heading to Cardiff, on board Team AkzoNobel Photo: Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

The prestigious Volvo Ocean Race is heading to Wales and should arrive in Cardiff Bay early next week.

By the time they get to Cardiff, the crews will have already battled their way through the infamous Southern Ocean and a transatlantic crossing before they headed to Europe.

The 7-boat race sees crews battle the most extreme conditions on the planet, as they navigate the globe on a 45,000 nautical mile trip, spanning eight months.

Cardiff is one of 12 host cities and it's the first time Wales has hosted a leg of the race.

On board Team AkzoNobel, Chris Nicholson eases the sails Credit: Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

The fleet’s arrival in Wales will be particularly welcome to the race’s only Welsh sailor, Bleddyn Mon from Bangor in Gwynedd.

Onboard UK based team Turn the Tide on Plastic, he is flying the solo flag for Welsh sailing in his first attempt at the trans-global race.

As part of the crew lead by the race’s only female skipper, he is hoping that the Volvo’s Cardiff stop-over can build on Wales’ recent Olympic success with Hannah Mills.

And after the crew spent days alone, he said the mere sight of the competition came as a huge relief.

“We did a big split from the fleet on day one so it’s quite reassuring when you see another boat again, particularly when we were in very light winds at the time.

“We expect the breeze for the next 24 hours to keep building up to 35 maybe 40 knots later on this evening.

“It’s going to be a busy day - it should be good”.

The first of the fleet’s seven boats is expected to arrive into Cardiff in the early hours of Tuesday morning before setting up camp for a week of exhibitions and in-shore racing.

It will then depart on leg 10 of the race to Gothenburg in Sweden.