Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - In Southampton, UK Team Alvimedica launched their new Volvo Ocean 65 boat on Friday to herald six months of crew selections and hard training before the start of the race in October.
On the dock was Race CEO Knut Frostad who has fostered the dreams of two young Americans, Mark Towill and Charlie Enright, to launch a boat in offshore sailing’s toughest round-the-world professional event.
'This is a proud moment,' said Frostad. 'Mark and Charlie remind me of me when I was their age – they have no fear and are just so hungry to compete in this race.
'They have overcome many, many barriers to reach this point having found the ideal sponsor for them but now, in lots of ways, the hard work is just starting.'
09 April 2014, Charlie Enright Team Alvimedica skipper, at the helm if the boat in Southampton - Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Sam Greenfield
Enright and Towill’s success in securing a Volvo Ocean Race campaign already has a fairy tale feel – they first met as teenagers on the set of a Disney sailing movie seven years ago and vowed then to compete in the event one day.
'Today is a great moment for the both of us,' said Towill. 'We’ve followed this dream all this time and for so long we didn’t think it would happen. We can’t wait to assemble our crew now and get in shape for the big start in October.'
The event at Southampton’s Green Marine boatyard also marked a major milestone for Alvimedica CEO Dr Cem Bozkurt who is fully backing the Turkey-based medical device company’s own dream of contesting the race.
'Our sailing team, initially made up of our employees, achieved significant success in a number of races after we identified sailing as our company’s sporting pillar two years ago,' he said.
'Now our target is to race with professionals in the premier league of sailing. We have set our hearts on the Volvo Ocean Race and we want to introduce Alvimedica to a broader public around the world using a challenging race which draws the attention of more than 1.5 billion people every edition.'
Alvimedica became one of Europe’s leading companies in the area of interventional cardiology after merging last year with CID, an Italian-based firm.
Now they have their sights firmly focused on the North American market and the global reach of the Volvo Ocean Race, which visits all continents of the world and 11 countries in total, suits those ambitions perfectly.
'We are in the Volvo Ocean Race because it is a sporting platform to express our worldwide business ambitions and reflects our corporate values and our passion.
'We're young, agile, we love challenges, we thrive on modern technology and we firmly believe that teamwork leads to better results. That is also the spirit of the Volvo Ocean Race.'
Towill and Enright have a very full agenda now that their one-design Volvo Ocean 65 has hit the water in an event witnessed by journalists from around Europe.
They will be trialing prospective crewmates later this month with the accent firmly on young talent from around the world. Towill and Charlie are both in their 20s and will be leading the youngest team in the race.
Once the eight-man crew plus an on-board reporter are recruited, Team Alvimedica plan some hard-core training in the lead-up to the opening in-port race in Alicante, Spain on October 4.
A highlight of their preparations will be a trans-Atlantic voyage to their home port of Newport, Rhode Island which will
be hosting the Race for the first time in May next year.
A week after the Alicante in-port race, the fleet sets sail for the first leg of nine to Cape Town on October 11.
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