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Where is Brunel? Owner says reports wrong

Owner Matt Allen refutes reports on the Belgian website Club Racer which detailed the arrival at Gothenburg the Volvo Open 70 Premier Challenge, which alleged that despite a contract with Brunel, the Premier Challenge boat ‘did a runner within a half hour’, breaking a contract with the Dutch sponsors and having been spirited away, was sighted around various parts of Europe.

Sydney sailor Matt Allen said this afternoon the Belgian website reports which had been translated and circulated by some sailing media was completely unfounded.

On arrival in Gothenburg at the end of the leg 'Brunel' (VO70) was met by all members of the syndicate – Bindy Lockhart, Grant Wharington and Matt Allen. Grant was the first to board the boat and congratulate the guys in what was a great result. Dressed in full Brunel gear Matt Allen had also been socializing with Brunel team members in both Gothenburg and Rotterdam.

As with all other leg arrivals, after about 20 minutes of celebration the boat was moved from the arrivals dock. Brunel was moved around the corner in the next dock, to moor up alongside all the other VO70’s for the public to gaze upon.

The following day most of the Premier Challenge team took the Brunel VO70 out for spin with some sponsors on board.

By the end of Monday 19 June. Brunel was still there, with only two other VO70’s to keep her company - Brasil 1 and the Pirates of the Caribbean.

On Tuesday 20, the VO70 finally moved.

As Bindy Lockhart reports. ‘Our pack up process began early (6.30 am) on Tuesday the 20th, and at about 10 the yacht was moved (in broad daylight) to the docks about 20 minutes away. By the time I left her, late on Tuesday afternoon (fully branded) the mast was out, the keel off and the yacht on a flat rack ready for the Wallenius Wilhemsen RORO trip back to Australia.’

According to Matt Allen, the contract with the Dutch corporation Brunel ran until the end of the race and had been completed.

‘Some time ago we quoted Brunel for post event corporate work, but the gentleman with the Open 60 quoted less and he received the contract.’

‘The Open 60 has been partially painted in Brunel livery and that appears to have caused some confusion, with some observers apparently not being able to pick the difference between an Open 60 and a V70. When I first saw the Open 60 in Rotterdam, for a second, I was confused, but the rigs are completely different.‘

Allen is a highly respected racing campaigner and very successful businessman. A director of the CYCA in Sydney, Allen is a strong supporter of offshore racing. In recent years all his boats have been called Ichi Ban and the V70 will be similarly named.

‘We will be doing some minor modifications on the boat, which finished the race in excellent condition.

‘Because this boat has been built with full bulkheads, she is about 500kg heaver than some of the other V70’s and so without the bulkheads, in Hobart racing trim, we expect she will be much faster. We’ve entered the boat in the Gosford to Lord Howe race at end of October in preparation for the 2006 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race.’

by Rob Kothe


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8:30 AM Fri 23 Jun 2006 GMT

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2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race

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