Archive | Volvo Ocean Race

Team Vestas Wind name crew and leave for Qualifier

Posted on 01 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source:] The latest entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, Team Vestas Wind left Southampton on Sunday, heading for the race start port in Alicante, Spain.

The team will take on the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic waters off Spain and Portugal before reaching the Mediterranean to complete the obligatory 2,000-nautical-mile qualifying distance. The team has announced their full crew for the 40,000nm race around the world. Four Volvo veterans will join former Camper skipper, Chris Nicholson. The other three members of the crew are all on their first tour of the planet. Two members of the Camper sailed by Emirates Team New Zealand crew will join their former skipper, bringing a solid core of experience from the previous event. Tony Rae and Rob Salthouse have signed on with Team Vestas Wind. The two Kiwis have seven Volvo Ocean Races under their belts already.

The pair is joined by two other crew members with Race experience, Dutch navigator Wouter Verbraak and the first Argentine to be named for this year’s race, Maciel Cichetti. Nicholson will also have plenty of new talent on board with 23-year-old Australian Tom Johnson joining Danish Volvo Ocean Race first-timers Nicolai Sehested and Peter Wibroe. To complete the team, Irish film-maker and photographer Brian Carlin will be responsible for bringing the story of Team Vestas Wind to millions of fans around the world as Onboard Reporter. Nicholson expects the crew to come together very quickly. ‘We need a crew with plenty of guys on board who know exactly what the Volvo Ocean Race is all about, guys who can hit the ground running and help make us competitive in the shortest time possible. And we also need a team that can gel quickly because this race more than ever before, will be about teamwork and making the right decisions together.’

‘We’re confident we’ve achieved just that with a mixture of huge experience in Trae (Rae), Salty (Salthouse) and myself, and guys who are ready to learn from them like Nicolai (Sehested) and Peter (Wibroe).’

Full Crew List:
Chris Nicholson (Australia) (45) - has has competed in the Volvo Ocean Race four times. He has represented Australia at the Sydney and Athens Olympics and is a six-time world champion in the 505 and 49er classes, as well as being a top 18ft skiff skipper. He finished second last time in 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Nicolai Sehested (Danish) (24) - has a solid background in match racing, and recently competed in the Extreme 40 series.

Peter Wibroe (Danish) (29) - also has a solid background in match racing. He was a crew member in the Extreme 40′s and has competed in the Melges 32 and RC 44. Pete has a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences with a master’s degree in nanotechnology.

Tony Rae (New Zealand) (53) - has competed in the Volvo Ocean race four times. He has been a member of Team NZ since 1987 and has been with Team NZ for all seven of their America’s Cup campaigns.

Rob Salthouse (New Zealand) (48) - has competed in three Volvo Ocean Races, four America Cup regattas with Team New Zealand, eight Sydney-to-Hobart races.

Tom Johnson (Australia) (23) - has recently competed in the Extreme 40 Sailing series and has a strong background in Moth and 49er sailing.

Wouter Verbraak (Dutch) (38) - Navigator – has competed in the Volvo Ocean Race twice, the America’s Cup (Mascalzone Latino) and the 2011 Barcelona World Race.

Maciel Cichetti (Argentine) (40) - Watch captain, Helmsman, Trimmer – experience in Volvo Ocean Race and Americas Cup. He is a World Champion in the RC 44 sailing class and a highly sought after trimmer in the TP 52’s.

Brian Carlin (Irish) - On Board Reporter (OBR) (30) – Brian has a long history in film and photography in the sailing arena.

By Richard Gladwell,

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Dongfeng Race Team have recruited two more Chinese sailors

Posted on 31 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Dongfeng Race Team] It is 37 days to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 and Dongfeng Race Team have officially recruited two more Chinese sailors, the Chinese Yachting Association’s former Finn sailor, Kong Chencheng (Kong) and Liu Xue (Black). Both sailors had been selected previously, but for different reasons had pulled out of the programme. But they have shown determination and resilience in returning and have been welcomed by the Skipper Charles Caudrelier with open arms. This means there are now a total of six Chinese sailors in Dongfeng Race Team, who will rotate onboard during the race. There will be 3 Chinese sailors onboard on the start line in Alicante.

Participating in the Volvo Ocean Race is not something you choose to do lightly. You have to want it, like really, really want it. Both Kong and Black were selected from the first and second batch of selection trials, both had clear talent and both wanted to be a part of Dongfeng Race Team. Then the training started. And it wasn’t quite how they imagined.

Liu Xue

Liu Xue, also known as ‘little black’ to his friends, is from Qingdao. Originally with China Team, he was selected without hesitation by Dongfeng Race Team after the first selection trials in Sanya earlier this year. Incredibly well liked amongst his teammates and mentors, he was selected by Charles to complete an offshore training program in the Pacific Ocean back in March. This was the first real offshore test for the new Chinese recruits. “During the first offshore training in the Pacific, it was us only on the sea without any competitors, I got a bit confused and was unsure after the first few days – there were no competitors and suddenly I couldn’t figure out what the objective or goal was for this training.To be honest I found it boring!” he admits. “But then I realised that I missed the team, missed my teammates, missed this family, and missed all the difficulties we went through together. Also the Volvo Ocean Race is a really rare opportunity, and I realised whilst back in China alone, that I want to participate in this race. A Volvo Ocean Race sailor should be a team player, determined in mind with a strong body, experienced, know the boat, confront any problem that might occurred instead of escaping or turning away. This is the person I want to become.” Liu Xue took a step back from training with the team in March but has since felt he belonged with the team and after dropping an email initially to one of the French crew and then to Team Director, Bruno Dubois asking if he could return – he has been offered a place in the final race squad.

“There is no question that missing several months of training is a real handicap for Black,” explains Dubois. “But this young man has incredible talent and I can already see he is catching up., Couple his talent with his new-found determination and I know we have a future Volvo Ocean Race sailor in the making.”

Liu Xue has described representing Dongfeng Race Team and China ‘an honor’.

Kong Chencheng

Next we have Kong Chencheng who came from the China Yachting Association’s national Olympic squad programme. A superb strong athlete, Kong is the only sailor to have survived the second batch of selection trials back in February.

“Kong did the Atlantic crossing with the team and, like Black, he left straight after that experience,” explains Bruno. “It is difficult for Kong as he comes from sailing his Finn and representing China and the China Yachting Association (CYA) in major sailing events – this is a long way from ocean sailing. He is a fantastic sailor and an amazing athlete, and with more training he will become a powerful offshore sailor.”

Kong explains that crossing the Atlantic was a moment of harsh realisation as to what could lie ahead should he be accepted into the final race squad. “The transatlantic voyage is the first ever offshore experience in my life. I didn’t know what to expect and what would happen when I stepped on the boat and said good-bye to the shore crew. We have a saying in Chinese, which I think it’s perfect for me to describe that experience – ‘Suffering while enjoying’. It was difficult for me to catch up the pattern at the beginning, and I felt to live is no better than to die at some point – I felt seasick; the waves was huge and I heard them literally yelling at each other when working on the deck when I was sleeping on the ‘bed’ – we were in the middle of the ocean and I was worried what if something bad really happened, but then I realised they were just yelling and shouting because they couldn’t hear each other; work for 4 hours, then 4 hours break, then work again. I’ve never done it in my life before and I even fell asleep when I was standing/working on the deck. But all in all, it was a tough but great experience, I just hope I can evolve and learn because I want to do this.”

He then goes on to explain the importance of sailing in his life, “I can’t imagine my life without sea – there are 365 days per year, and I spend around 300 days on the sea. Yes, I admit that when you are doing something repeatedly every single day, you’ll start to hate it at some point. But when someone ask you to leave, you’ll realise it’s impossible to do so. It’s part of my life, it’s in my blood.”

Kong has admitted to feeling ‘proud and honoured’ to be representing China. “I am excited to be a part of the team that are making history.”

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Vestas Wind Systems completes Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 line-up

Posted on 12 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Six-time world champion Chris Nicholson, who will be contesting his fifth race, will skipper the boat and work is already well underway to ready the Danish company’s team for the race start in October.

“It’s an honour to be skipper of Team Vestas Wind. They have unmatched expertise in harnessing the power of wind and together we can use our knowledge to take on this challenge,” said Nicholson who has twice represented Australia in the Olympics.

Two Danes, Nicolai Sehested and Peter Wibroe, will feature in the eight-man crew. Sehested, 24, is among the youngest from his country to have competed in the race.

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad believes that Team Vestas Wind – the first ever Danish boat to enter the race – is a perfect fit. “Vestas is a global company which is completely focused on wind energy and making the world a cleaner place for generations to come,” he said.

“Overall, I’m delighted that we will have seven teams on the start line, all racing the brand new Volvo Ocean 65 one-design boats, a concept that was introduced only two years ago.”

Vestas has built up a powerful reputation for its wind technologies, products and services. It began manufacturing wind turbines in 1979 and has become a market leader in the area.

“Wind is our business and our passion. The Volvo Ocean Race is the ideal platform for us to engage with our customers, showcase our technology and strengthen our brand in some of our most important markets. This supports our new corporate strategy ‘Profitable Growth for Vestas’”, said Anders Runevad, Group President & CEO at Vestas Wind Systems.

Team Vestas Wind will join Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Dongfeng Race Team, Team Brunel, Team Alvimedica and a Spanish team whose title sponsor has yet to be announced, on the start line.

The boat will face its first test on water in mid-August as the crew prepares to sail the 2,000 nautical miles qualifying distance, a pre-requisite of joining the Volvo Ocean Race which starts with the In-port race in Alicante on October 4.

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Team Alvimedica completes Volvo Ocean Race line-up

Posted on 10 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Alvimedica] Team Alvimedica have completed their line-up for the forthcoming Volvo Ocean Race by confirming Matt Noble as the final crew member.

The full line-up will take part in the Round Britain and Ireland Race, which starts today from Cowes on the Isle of Wight and includes five Volvo Ocean Race teams. Severe weather warnings are in place and conditions are expected to be treacherous.

“The Round Britain and Ireland Race is our first competition against the other Volvo boats, and one of our last training missions before we sail around the world, so we are really happy to have completed our crew,” said skipper Charlie Enright.

“We are very excited to have Matt. He did the recent Transatlantic crossing with us, and everything worked out great. So, to complete the line-up is a really good feeling and we’re ready to move forward as a group.”

The appointment of the 28-year-old Noble, who hails from San Francisco and will be sailing around the world for the very first time, underlines Team Alvimedica’s commitment to blooding young sailing talent.

Noble, the fourth American in the team, finished third at two 29er world championships and won the International 14 class world championships in Germany in 2008.

The Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s toughest and longest sporting event, starts in Alicante, Spain on October 4. Team Alvimedica is competing in the race for the very first time.

Based in Turkey and founded in 2007, Alvimedica, is a medical devices company committed to developing minimally invasive technologies. The company is a fast-growing challenger in the global field of interventional cardiology.

Matt Noble completes the Team Alvimedica lineup for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race


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Start of Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race postponed until Monday morning

Posted on 10 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Royal Ocean Racing Club] The Royal Ocean Racing Club has issued a statement announcing that the start of the 2014 edition of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race has been postponed.

The decision has been taken to postpone the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 by 21 hours. The new start time will be 0900 on Monday 11th August 2014.

The Race Committee took this decision after receiving advice that the low pressure system known as Bertha is moving more slowly than previously predicted, with the result that the forecast winds for the start and the immediate period afterwards includes sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts in excess of 50 knots in the English Channel.

The advice is that this delay will allow time for the severe winds to abate as the low pressure system moves North East.

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Five Volvo Ocean Race Teams Face Off In Round Britain Test

Posted on 31 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Iker Martinez’s Spanish team will try out potential new crew members as they make their way to the UK for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race this week.

The event, which starts on August 9 and is preceded by Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, will see five of the new, one-design Volvo Ocean 65 boats navigate Britain’s 1,800 miles of notoriously tricky coastline.

Four other teams – Team SCA, Team Alvimedica, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Dongfeng Race Team – will join Martinez’s crew at the start line of what is the final competitive test before the beginning of the Volvo Ocean Race in October.

And the Spaniard has drafted in Guillermo ‘Willy’ Altadill and Carlos Hernández to join his team for the practice race – as the pair attempts to secure a permanent place on board.

The Spanish team are currently some way behind their rivals in terms of preparation, and the skipper is relishing the opportunity to blood some new talent.

“We’d like to try 10 more guys but we just don’t have the time – that’s the problem with such a tight schedule,” he said.

At 21 and 27 respectively, the pair would both fill Under 30’s spots on board – but despite their relative youth, Martínez believes that they could prove to be valuable additions to his crew.

“They are good sailors, and have a lot of experience with large boats,” he said. “We have sailed together over the last few days, and both of them have performed very well. They are young, fit and possess a lot of technical ability.”

Meanwhile, Dongfeng Race Team have packed up their Lorient training base and are currently en route to the UK.

The trip is a particularly exciting one for their Chinese sailors, who have never visited the islands before.

“Multiple Chinese crew will take part in the race, which is a major step forward for China in terms of offshore sailing,” said Team Director, Bruno Dubois.

“There is still a lot to do but if we look at the big picture and our long-term goal, this is a first success,” he added.

“I am proud that in just six months, we’ve managed to reach this point.”

This week’s journey also represents a landmark occasion for Team SCA, who have waved goodbye to their Lanzarote training base after 18 months.

The girls are now well into their estimated eight-day sail to the UK, and Onboard Reporter Corinna Halloran believes that the trip is providing important practice for the race proper.

“We are well into a daily routine,” she said. “A routine that will sustain us for days during this delivery, but will sustain us for weeks during the longest of the legs.”

Having arrived in Southampton following a successful transatlantic crossing from Rhode Island, USA last week, Team Alvimedica have taken the opportunity to enjoy a well-earned break.

Skipper Charlie Enright was delighted with the performance of his team during the voyage, and believes that the unpredictable conditions they encountered only served to strengthen the spirit of his crew.

“I think the trip was incredible for the dynamic. It was the first time with eight crew members, and every little change had an effect in a positive direction,” he said.

“The Round Britain and Ireland Race is the next step for the team. We are using it as training, and trying to learn and hone our skills. It’s a big opportunity, and one we’re excited about.”

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing joined the Rhode Islanders on that transatlantic trip, and will also sail in the race around Britain.

The crew’s Emirati sailor, Adil Khalid, led their Eid festivities this week – and there was double cause for celebration as skipper Ian Walker announced the crew’s ‘One4Azzam’ competition winner.

Keith Burhans, a 58-year-old paralympian from the USA, secured the most votes in the online contest, and will now take his place on board Azzam for the 50-mile Artemis Challenge in Cowes on August 7th.

“Getting the chance to sail with them is a dream come true – a real bucket-list opportunity,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the rest of the teams prepare to test themselves offshore, Team Brunel are staying firmly on land in order to ensure that they are in the best possible shape for the race.

Along with fitness trainer Dominic Ramino, the crew have been putting in the hours at the gym, and their experienced skipper Bouwe Bekking feels that his team could reap the benefits of that physical superiority when it comes to the big race.

“We have been in the gym every morning for five months. With the help of Ramino, we will stand strong at the start in Alicante,” he said.

And as the beginning of the first leg draws nearer, Pablo Díaz-Munio has been appointed as Race Doctor for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.

Having worked closely with Ericsson Racing Team in 2008-9, and been the Official Team Doctor for Team Teléfonica in 2011-12, the Spaniard knows all too well the challenges that a race around the world can pose.

“In an event this extreme, minor problems can become major problems, and major problems can become emergencies,” he said.

Díaz-Munio has also accompanied record-breaking mountaineer Edurne Pasaban on three Himalayan campaigns.

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Photo gallery: Team Brunel training in Lanzarote

Posted on 28 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Fresh from their victory at the Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race, the Dutch team had yet another spectacular photo-shoot session off Lanzarote with top photographer Sander van der Borch:

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

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Team Brunel strikes first blow in the Volvo Ocean Race

Posted on 23 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Brunel] On Saturday July 19th the starting gun was fired for the Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race. The 670 mile yacht race led the fleet in three days around the Canary Islands.

After the start Team Brunel took the second place in the first contest between three brand new VO65-racers. The Spanish Team Campos of skipper Iker Martinez took the lead shortly after the start and the ladies of Team SCA started last. Sunday morning Team Brunel grabbed the lead from Team Campos. After that Bouwe Bekking and his men built their lead rapidly to over 10 miles.

Monday morning the Dutch boat doubled their lead at the Spanish team to more than 20 miles. “We are sailing at the most southwestern tip of the archipelago. At this time we could not see Team Campos and Team SCA. Last night we were smoking,” navigator Andrew Cape reported from the boat. It was enough for the victory in the first Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race. Team Brunel crossed the finish line at full speed in a pitch black Monday evening for the coast of Marina Rubicón at Lanzarote.

Rokas Milevičius: “The race was really fun, with various conditions. We had strong wind, light wind, no wind and we sailed up- and downwind. We knew exactly what to expect, because Andrew “Capey” Cape has done this race before. He did a great job in preparing the race. We knew where the wind would die and where the wind would increase. The speed of the three VO65’s was almost the same during the beginning of the race. After the start we sailed a few miles close together. During the first night we had a lot of wind up to 30 knots.

We were pushing harder than Team Campos and Team SCA. We did some good sail changes, and after rounding Lanzarote we took the lead. At sunrise we could not see the Spanish boat anymore. But a few miles later we were parked in an area with no wind. We hoped that they would not overtake us from behind, but they parked first. Luckily we found the first wind. Clearly Capey has given us the victory.”

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