Volvo ocean race big deal for NZ
13 Apr 2010
New Zealand will play a key role in the 2011-12 Volvo ocean yacht race as a host stopover and as a competitor, having just struck a deal with a Spanish sponsor.
Emirates Team New Zealand announced today (13.4.10) that it will compete in the famously gruelling round-the-world race, in a yacht sponsored by Spanish shoe manufacturer, Camper.
Last week it was confirmed that Auckland would be one of eight official stopovers during the race, which is due to start in the Spanish port of Alicante in October 2011 and finish in Galway, Ireland in June 2012.
The stopover marks a 10-year gap since Auckland hosted the event and while New Zealand has fielded some of the top sailors in the high profile yacht race, the last time a Kiwi flag boat took part was in 1994.
Auckland will stage the leg four finish from Sanya in China and the start of leg five, which will take the fleet into the southern ocean once again, round the infamous Cape Horn and up to a finish in Itajai, Brazil.
Volvo Ocean Race chief executive, Knut Frostad said that with so many of the world’s best-known sailors from New Zealand, organisers were proud to be bringing the race back to the 'City of Sails', where they could be sure of a huge reception.
The Team NZ yacht for the 2011-12 event will be called Camper, and will carry the burgees of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Real Club Náutico de Palma.
Camper is a family-owned company that started making shoes on the Spanish Island of Majorca in 1877 and now has a presence in 42 countries.
The company says competing in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race fits with its culture and values and working with Emirates Team New Zealand, undoubtedly one of the most prestigious sailing teams in the world, was a privilege.
Camper is the fifth yacht to be confirmed for the race after Puma Ocean Racing of the United States, France's Groupama, Italy's Italia 70 and an Abu Dhabi team.
Team New Zealand
Emirates Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton - who’s sailed around the world seven-times - is a veteran of the Volvo Ocean Race, which was formerly known as the Whitbread.
Dalton has competed six times in the Whitbread, twice as part of the winning team - in 1981-82 with Flyer, and in 1993-94 with NZ Endeavour which was the last Kiwi entry in the event.
Dalton said a Volvo campaign was a natural fit for his America's Cup team.
"Our objective was always to diversify, once the team had re-established its credentials, as a means of keeping our people busy, focused and creative," Dalton said.
"With Louis Vuitton, the team started the Louis Vuitton Trophy, Dean Barker and the team campaigned successfully on the Audi MedCup TP52 circuit last year, and now we have a Volvo ocean race campaign to organise from scratch."
Emirates Team New Zealand had no shortage of experience with the Volvo Ocean Race and the Whitbread before it, Dalton said.
"It's no secret that I have never lost my enthusiasm for racing around the world."
Volvo organisers said they were delighted to welcome Grant Dalton and Emirates Team New Zealand to the race, because it gave the event its first proper New Zealand entry for many years.
"Dalton, a former winner of this event, brings with him not only a wealth of experience, but a very charismatic and highly competitive team of sailors. The people of Auckland will surely be very proud to watch the progress of Emirates Team New Zealand as it takes on some of the world’s best," said Frostad.
2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race route
The route for the 2011-12 Volvo ocean race includes start port Alicante / Spain, on to Cape Town / South Africa, Abu Dhabi / UAE, Sanya / China, Auckland / New Zealand, Itajai / Brazil, Miami / USA, Lisbon / Portugal, Lorient / France and finish port Galway / Ireland.
The new route has been welcomed by the sailing fraternity.
"It is good to see them go back to the traditional ports," said Tim Powell, who competed in three races including the last British entry Silk Cut, in 1997.
"Auckland was always the biggest stopover in the race so it is nice to see it back in the race," Powell said.
Kiwi Volvo history
Two of the most celebrated skippers in Volvo Ocean Race history, the late Sir Peter Blake and Grant Dalton both hail from Auckland with 11 circumnavigations and three victories between them.
Mike Sanderson, current team director of Britain's Team Origin won the 2005-06 race on ABN Amro and Ross Field won the Whitbread 60 class in 1993-94 on Yamaha.
New Zealand - a sailing nation
New Zealand’s sea-going love affair
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