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Galway in new €80m yacht race finish joy

GALWAY is set for a massive €80m injection after it was announced that the city will host the final leg of the worldwide Volvo Ocean Race in 2012.

A fleet of up to 12 magnificent Volvo 'Open 70' boats will sail into Galway Docks in June 2012 to complete the round-the-world competition.

It is understood Galway beat off competition from Amsterdam and Stockholm to secure the honour after the city hosted one stage of the race last year.

And it is estimated that up to 40,000 visitors will descend on the city, boosting the local economy by €80m.

The final leg will include a three-day round-Ireland race, offering double points for the competitors before they race to the finishing point at the western harbour.

The news is testament to hard work behind the scenes carried out by the Let's Do It Galway committee, led by Galway businessmen John Killeen, Enda O'Coineen, and Eamon Conneely.

Labour party president Michael D Higgins said that there were very few projects which were guaranteed to give such a high return within such a short period of time.

"In last year's staging, there was such a significant cultural component, enjoyed in safety on the waterfront -- a further endorsement of the possibilities of the city," he said.

"With proper planning and respect for creativity, the event constitutes an example of what the future can bring.

Fine Gael councillor Padraig Conneely, who was mayor of Galway city when the boats sailed into the harbour last year, said that they are investigating extending the festival even further in 2012.

"All of the crews voted Galway as the number one stopover on the race last year, they were overwhelmed by the welcome," he told the Herald.

"It was one of the most successful events Galway ever held. It proved the city can handle a world event and we were presented to the world stage in a very positive light."