Delta Lloyd off to safe start

Delta Lloyd and Green Dragon at the start of the Volvo Ocean Race

On Saturday October 11 2008, Team Delta Lloyd (NED) showed a modest start at the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. It was a grey day in Alicante, with a strong north-easterly and a solid swell.

At 2 PM Spanish time, the fleet of eight VO 70’s crossed the line on their way to the next stop in Cape Town (RSA). The Delta Lloyd, skippered by Ger O’Rourke (IRL), did not take any risks and started beating in last position. They went inshore a sailed along the coast. The Dutch entry rounded the upwind mark side by side with the Russians and just behind the Green Dragon. After the run, Delta Lloyd had a small lead over the Russians.

This morning, the eleven crew members were eager to finally start racing. O’Rourke: 'We made it. The boys showed great persistence and professionalism. It is time to set sails for the first leg and it feels like a relief.' Bowman Ed van Lierde (NED) admitted that he did not sleep that well: 'I am a bit nervous, but I know it will be a lot easier after the first 24 hours. In fact, I think we will be relaxed as soon as the right sails are hoisted and we have rounded the corner.' But the day started with a rush. Especially because Team Delta Lloyd had a special guest, as Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre (ESP) joined them during the tour around the harbour. After an emotional and warm good-bye to family and friends, the 88 sailors sailed out surrounded by firework and an air show.

Warming-up in twenty knots
'Twenty knots of breeze is favourable for the Delta Lloyd boys', said coach Maurice Paardenkooper (NED) while watching his team leaving the dock. 'They will be soon out on the Med, for which they have to work hard. That is a good warming-up. I certainly believe in these guys.' The numerous spectator boats and two/three meter waves required special concentration of the skipper. The Delta Lloyd was last over the line, but caught up on the Russians on the run. However, the first position report showed that the Dutch VO 70 dropped to the eighth place. According to shore navigator Frits Koek (NED), who advices Matthew Gregory (USA), a weather window with a light breeze awaits the fleet at the entrance of the Strait of Gibraltar.

New website online
On Friday evening October 10th, Team Delta Lloyd launched its new website, designed by Hemels van der Hart. It is going to be the team’s virtual home port for the next nine months. It is the place to be for visitors who like to follow the sailors out on the ocean and the shore crew on their trip around the world.

Media Man Sander Pluijm (NED) publishes an exclusive blog on a daily base and images will tell the rest of the story. The English version will follow soon.

In addition to title sponsor Delta Lloyd, the Dutch/Irish syndicate is also supported by Chieftain Group, Tommy Hilfiger, OHRA Verzekeringen, Port of Rotterdam, Discovery Channel, Weather News and Hemels van der Hart.