A syndicate with environmental issues at the heart of their campaign has emerged as a potential eighth entry for the 2008-09 race.
Known as Carbon Challenge, the objective of the campaign is to raise awareness of the harmful effects of global warming as the team travels the globe by significantly reducing their carbon footprint.
Team members will follow a 'code of coolness', an internal charter which sets the squad's CO2 reduction targets as well as prescribes paths for achieving them.
It is anticipated the team will emit a carbon footprint which is 20 per cent below that of a typical Volvo Ocean Race team.
'It is a carbon reduction platform that serves international companies and top management who want to highlight their commitment level and leadership position in carbon management and climate protection,' according to Jacqueline Sasse, the team's commercial director.
Carbon Challenge's participation in the race hinges on financial support from commercial partners. Sasse is overseeing the procurement process. 'We are inviting business leaders and corporations from around the world to join us and make use of the 'cool' combination of sport, architecture/design, and professional training as a platform to give a context to their CO2 reduction objectives,' she said.
'The companies we are speaking to are either already active in carbon management and climate change or they have been searching for the right opportunity to become active. Carbon Challenge can not become a vehicle for greenwashing campaigns.'
Sailing matters will be in the hands of the former Mascalzone Latino America's Cup project manager Tom Weaver.
The team plans to campaign with Pirates of the Caribbean, the first generation Volvo Open 70, which finished second overall in the 2005-06 race.
'It's a cool idea for Carbon Challenge to get on board a pre-campaigned boat,' Weaver said.
'We will have already saved an incredible amount of energy compared to a team that builds a new boat. In theory at least, we don't have to sacrifice a lot of performance versus the other teams as my research indicates that we can be reasonably competitive, investing our personal energy in making the boat fast.
'In the short term we need to inspect the boat and determine a timetable for a re-fit with design engineers and boatbuilders, we will then look at a new complete sail inventory, I have an outlet to recycle the old ones.
'Then when we push the button we can get the sailing team on the water early so by race time they will be up for the challenge.
'Using a pre-campaigned boat, our crew will have a harder job keeping up with the rest of the field. But that is part of the challenge – to outperform expectations by being carbon conscious.'
It is planned that the team's feats on the water will be supported by extensive race village activity in port stopovers to raise awareness of the campaign. http://www.volvooceanrace.org