Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) skipper Conrad Colman is the first to arrive in Palma, Mallorca for the double-handed, round the world race starting on 25th September 2011.
The brand new Akilaria RC2 Class40, Jasmine Flyer, maiden voyage has taken her from the MC-TEC shipyard in Tunisia, where she was launched in May, to the Marina Port de Mallorca.
The Akilaria RC2 is the third generation of Class40’s and has already shown great potential in the Route du Rhum 2010 and the recent 2011 Normandy Channel Race. Named Jasmine Flyer after the demonstrations and civil unrest in Tunisia in January, dubbed the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ by the international media, Colman will complete preparation of the yacht in Mallorca. 'I’m delighted that at last I’m in charge of Jasmine Flyer after the unavoidable setbacks caused by the revolution in Tunisia,' confirms the 27 year-old New Zealand skipper. 'I’m sure that Palma with its stunning bay and great marine infrastructure and professionals is the perfect place for completing the yacht’s preparation,' Colman continues. 'I’m sure we will be crossing the start line in September in great shape with a good chance of success in the Global Ocean Race.'
Colman has yet to announce who his GOR co-skipper will be: 'I’m looking at several possibilities,' he explains. 'There’s also the GOR option of a team entry, which allows a maximum of six crew and the possibility of changing one of the skippers in each stopover port,' says Colman. The New Zealander’s background is rich with sailing: his grandfather built several sailing boats for the family and was an expert sailor and his father has sailed shorthanded in several transoceanic trips, taking him halfway around the world. Having graduated in economics and political science, Conrad Colman decided that his future was in ocean racing and he moved to Europe, working in England as a sailmaker and moving to France in 2008 as part of an Imoca Open 60 team. In 2009, Colman began racing in the Mini 6.50 class with good results, culminating with the 2009 Mini Transat where he finished mid-fleet after a series of technical problems and gear failures, despite which he managed to cross the finish line.
In 2010 he moved into Class40’s, competing in the Route du Rhum with 40 Degrees – an Owen Clarke Design with which the Anglo-German all-female team of Hannah Jenner and Anna-Maria Renken will take part in the GOR – finishing in 28th place after a very demanding race in difficult weather conditions. Having handed over 40 Degrees to Jenner and Renken in March, Colman relocated to the Akilaria base in Tunisia and assisted the British owner of Jasmine Flyer with the process of finishing and commissioning the yacht at MC-TEC. The yacht – owned by a British Airways pilot who is a highly experienced sailor – successfully completed the mandatory GOR 180 degrees self-righting test on 18 May in Tunisia and is the second Akilaria RC2 currently entered in the 30,000 mile double-handed race alongside Lionel Regnier and Pierre-Yves Cavan’s RC2 launched one month earlier than Jasmine Flyer. Colman’s chartered Lombard Design Class40 is the sixth, third generation yacht in the GOR fleet including Jacques Fournier and Jean-Edouard Criquioche’s Finot-Conq Pogo 40S² Groupe Picoty; Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron’s Franco-British Pogo 40S² and the two BT Boats - Farr Yacht Design Kiwi 40FC’s: Peráspera of Italy’s Francesco Piva and Roaring Forty 2 of Belgian yachtsman, Michel Kleinjans.
Giuseppe Carta, the GOR’s Commercial Division CEO in Palma, has been looking forward to Colman’s arrival: 'It’s great to have Conrad and his GOR boat here – it will allow us to begin showing the race, Class40 yachts and their sailors to the general public in Palma,' Carta explains. 'It is just a small appetizer for the great show that GOR entries will offer in the Bay of Palma before beginning the big adventure that will take them around the World.'
Josh Hall, Race Director of the GOR, has closely followed Colman’s progress since he announced his race entry: 'Conrad has fought very hard to get to this stage with his GOR campaign and we are all delighted that he has such a fabulous yacht to compete with,' says Hall. 'Being based in Mallorca well ahead of the race start will permit him to finish off his preparations to the highest of standards on location,' he continues. 'We are also sure he will thoroughly enjoy the Palma-lifestyle and the beauty of this wonderful island.' Global Ocean Race website