Team Alvimedica set sail for the biggest test yet for the young crew when they leave Lisbon on Friday, bound for Newport, Rhode Island across the Atlantic in preparation for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.
They are the new kids on the block in the biggest offshore challenge in sailing but are already soaking up experience thanks to a mentoring scheme put in place by team management.
Earlier this month, the crew used the skills and know-how of former race winner Paul Cayard to show them the ropes in their new Volvo Ocean 65 and for the trip across the Atlantic they will be receiving the wise advice of New Zealand’s Stu Bannatyne.
Bannatyne is one of the most successful sailors ever to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race, formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race.
He has been on the winning boat three times out of the six times he has competed, including victory in his debut appearance in 1993-94 on NZ Endeavour, skippered by another race legend Grant Dalton.
Bannatyne also triumphed as watch captain on illbruck in 2001-02 and Ericsson 4 in 2008-09. He finished second on board Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand in the last Race in 2011-12.
'It was great having Paul Cayard at our first session and it will be fantastic having someone like Stu as our second. Both of them bring a lot to the table and it’s up to us to absorb each of their different perspectives,' said delighted Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright.
'Stu comes across as a hardened race veteran, because he is, but that hasn’t stopped him from generously sharing his experiences with us. We’re really lucky to have him with us'.
Enright and his fellow crewmember Mark Towill have already enjoyed an incredible journey to reach the start line of the Volvo Ocean Race that begins with the Alicante in-port race on October 4 and then leaves for the first leg to Cape Town exactly a week later.
They first met as the young stars of the Disney movie Morning Light seven years ago and hatched a dream to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race after learning more about the event from several race veterans on the film set.
Thanks to the backing of Alvimedica, a European-based medical device company with head quarters in Istanbul with equally big ambitions to build a global reputation as the best in their business, their dream to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race has come true.
Bannatyne has certainly been impressed by what he’s seen so far of Enright, Towill and their young crew-mates who are trying out during the Atlantic voyage to complete the rest of the final line-up.
'I have been impressed so far with the professionalism and enthusiasm that Charlie and his young team have approached their campaign. Their energy to innovate and push hard for the best solutions in the programme has been great to see and I am really looking forward to working with them on this Transatlantic session'
The team management and Alvimedica plan to introduce more legendary names from the race’s history to give the youngsters – both Enright and Towill are in their 20s – an extra edge against rivals who are double their age and have at least double their offshore experience.
'In Alvimedica we have high ambitions in what we do. We always seek the best expertise worldwide within our field, to develop long lasting world-class collaboration. Using that same mindset for Team Alvimedica comes naturally as we care for our crew and their performance as if they were our family members. It is in our DNA,' said Anna Malm Bernsten, Campaign Director of Team Alvimedica. Volvo Ocean Race