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Its time to go racing in the Volvo Ocean Race

by Volvo Ocean Race media on 11 Oct 2008
Skippers Press conference before start on 11 Oct of Leg 1 (Alicante-ESP to Cape Town-RSA 6500NM).From left: Torben GRAEL (BRA) "ERICSSON 4", Anders LEWANDER (SWE) "ERICSSON 3", Bouwe BEKKING (DEN) "TELEFONICA BLUE", Fernando ECHAVARRI(ESP) "TELEFONICA BLACK", Ian WALKER (GBR) "GREEN DRAGON TEAM", Ken READ (USA) "PUMA OCEAN RACING", Andreas HANAKAMP (AUT) "TEAM RUSS ©Th.Martinez/Sea&Co. ThMartinez / Sea & Co - Copyright http://www.thmartinez.com

The waiting is nearly over and the 10th running of the Volvo Ocean Race starts the first of its 10 offshore legs at 1400 CET tomorrow from Alicante in Spain. But for some, it has been a wait too long and the 88 sailors taking part in this ocean epic are impatient to cross the start line and do what they do best: go sailing.

'I think we’re just ready to go,' said Ken Read, skipper of Puma’s il Mostro at this morning’s skipper’s press conference in Alicante. 'Most of the teams have been sitting around for about a week, quite well prepared and kind of itching to get things going. Alicante has been a fantastic home base to us all, but I think we’re looking forward to putting it in the rear view mirror and getting out there in the ocean. Doing what we’ve all been training to do for the last couple of years. '

Some teams have had the luxury of years of preparation, but some have had just weeks. Some of the sailors have done this race six times and are on their seventh lap of the planet, while others set sail for the first time. It’s the stuff of dreams for some, whilst for others it’s just another day in the office.. or is it?

'For me the whole race is a challenge,' said Ireland’s Ger O’Rourke/Delta Lloyd. 'It’s one of the best races in the world with the best sailors. I’m really looking forward to the adrenalin rush with a good team around us,' he said.

According to another newcomer to this event, Olympic medallist, Ian Walker/Green Dragon, he lives life at a million miles an hour. 'I have to slow down a little I think,' he says but this is unlikely onboard his Volvo Open 70. 'I can see everybody charging out of here and nobody wanting to go into a watch system and just pushing the boats to their maximum,' he adds.

Torben Grael, in charge of Sweden’s Ericsson 4 and on his second complete lap of the planet following his leg debut with Knut Frostad in 1997-98, agrees with Walker: 'I think everybody is going to push very hard. It’s looking like strong to medium-strong easterlies [winds] and, if we are lucky, it will take us all the way to Gibraltar.'

Packing for 22 days at sea is a complex business. Weight is critical and no one can take anything with them that isn’t absolutely necessary. 'It’s amazing when you start to load everything up,' says first timer Anders Lewander from Sweden, skipper of Ericsson 3. 'It’s a lot of gear for sure. But everything is weighed and has been carefully thought out. We have the weight we have and we are confident we’re well prepared for the start now.'

In the Russian camp, all the gear has been stored onboard their yacht, Kosatka. The shore team is just re-checking the little things and the racing crew has had the afternoon off. 'I’m going to have some physio and then off to meet my family,' says the big Austrian skipper, Andreas Hanakamp. 'This evening we will look at the weather, have another strategy session for Gibraltar with the navigator and watch captains, and then have an early evening.'

So, as the eight teams spend their last night ashore in Spain, the weather is shaping up to make for an interesting start in Spain tomorrow. Perhaps fitting for the start of this gruelling 37,000-nm race around the world, tomorrow is likely to dawn wet and very windy. According to race weather forecaster Jennifer Lilly, there may be some heavy rain in the morning, but by afternoon the rain will taper off and the winds will start to build. She says the trip out of the Mediterranean is still likely to start fast, with big seas and winds in the mid-teens with gusts to over 20 knots, but about 12 hours after the start, the teams will see the winds drop off, with a slow down likely before anyone clears the straits of Gibraltar. And then it’s straight out into the Atlantic.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 is the 10th running of this ocean marathon. It started from Alicante in Spain, on 4 October 2008 with an in-port race. Leg One from Alicante to Cape Town will start on 11 October and the course will, for the first time, take in Cochin, India, Singapore and Qingdao, China before finishing in St Petersburg, Russia for the first time in the history of the race. Spanning some 37,000 nautical miles, stopping at 11 ports and taking nine months to complete, the Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s premier yacht race for professional racing crews.

VOLVO OCEAN RACE CREW LIST LEG ONE: ALICANTE – CAPE TOWN

DELTA LLOYD
1. Ger O’Rourke/IRL - skipper
2. Matthew Gregory/USA - navigator
3. Sander Pluijm/NED -MCM
4. Stuart Wilson/NZL – watch captain
5. Stuart Molloy/NZL watch captain
6. Edwin O’Connor/IRL – trimmer/helmsman
7. Martin Watts/GBR – trimmer/helmsman
8. Ryan Houston/NZL – trimmer/helmsman
9. Bert Schandevyl/BEL – trimmer/helmsman
10. Ger-Jan Poortman/NED - bowman
11. Eduard van Lierde//NED - bowman

ERICSSON 4
1. Torben Grael/BRA - skipper
2. Jules Salter/GBR - navigator
3. Guy Salter/GBR - MCM
4. Brad Jackson/NZL – watch captain
5. Stu Bannatyne/NZL – watch captain
6. Dave Endean/NZL - pitman
7. Horacio Carabelli/BRA - trimmer
8. Tony Mutter/NZL - trimmer
9. Joao Signorini/BRA - trimmer
10. Ryan Godfrey/AUS - bowman
11. Phil Jameson/NZL - bowman

ERICSSON 3
1. Anders Lewander/SWE - skipper
2. Aksel Magdahl/NOR - navigator
3. Gustav Morin/SWE MCM
4. Richard Mason/NZL - watch captain
5. Magnus Olsson/SWE – watch captain
6. Thomas Johanson/FIN - helmsman
7. Eivind Melleby/NOR - helmsman
8. Stefan Myrälf/DEN - trimmer
9. Jens Dolmer/DEN - pitman
10. Anders Dahlsjö/SWE - mastman
11. Martin Krite/SWE - Bowman

GREEN DRAGON
1. Ian Walker/GBR - skipper
2. Ian Moore/IRL - navigator
3. Guo Chuan/CHI - MCM
4. Damian Foxall/IRL – watch captain
5. Neal McDonald/GBR – watch captain
6. Anthony Merrington/AUS – helmsman/trimmer
7. Phil Harmer/AUS – helmsman/trimmer
8. Tom Braidwood/AUS – pitman/trimmer
9. Andrew Mclean/NZL – pitman/trimmer
10. Freddie Shanks/GBR - bowman
11. Justin Slattery/IRL - bowman

PUMA OCEAN RACING
1. Ken Read/USA - skipper
2. Andrew Cape/AUS - navigator
3. Rick Deppe/GBR MCM
4. Sidney Gavignet/FRA – watch captain
5. Chris Nicholson/AUS – watch captain
6. Michael Müller/GER – helmsman/trimmer
7. Rob Salthouse/NZL – helmsman/trimmer
8. Casey Smith/AUS - bowman
9. Jerry Kirby/USA - bowman
10. Jonathan McKee/USA – helmsman/trimmer
11. Justin Ferris/NZL – helmsman/trimmer

TEAM RUSSIA
1. Andreas Hanakamp/AUT - skipper
2. Wouter Verbraak/NED - navigator
3. Mark Covell/GBR - MCM
4. Stig Westergaard/DEN – watch captain
5. Guillermo Altadill/ ESP – watch captain
6. Rodion Luka/UKR - helmsman
7. Jeremy Elliott/IRL - trimmer
8. Ben Costello/NZL - trimmer
9. Mike Joubert/RSA - bowman
10. Nick Bubb/GBR - trimmer
11. Cameron Wills/RSA - pitman

TELEFONICA BLUE
1. Bouwe Bekking/NED - skipper
2. Iker Martinez/ESP - co-skipper/helmsman
3. Simon Fisher/GBR- navigator
4. Gabriele Olivo/ITA - MCM
5. Jonathan Swain/RSA – watch captain
6. Laurent Pages/FRA - helmsman
7. Jordi Calafat ESP - helmsman
8. Xabier Fernandez/ESP - trimmer
9. Pablo Arrarte/ESP Spanish - trimmer
10. Daryl Wislang/NZL - bowman
11. Pepe Ribes/ESP - bowman

TELEFONICA BLACK
1. Fernando Echávarri/ESP- skipper
2. Roger Nilson/SWE - navigator
3. Mikel Pasabant/ESP - MCM
4. Santiago Lange/ARG – watch captain
5. Jaime Arbones/ESP – watch captain
6. Maciel Cicchetti/ARG - helmsman
7. Javier De La Plaza/ESP - helmsman
8. David Vera/ESP - trimmer
9. Antonio Cuervas-Mons/ESP - trimmer
10. Francisco Rivero/ESP - bowman
11. Michael Pammenter/RSA - bowman

www.volvooceanrace.org
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