Volvo Ocean Race competitor and sailing great Grant Dalton has finally been reunited with a long-lost key piece of his equipment – his beloved aviator sunglasses. The reunion comes after a 21 year separation and amid his emotional return on board his old boat Fisher and Paykel.
The New Zealander was being interviewed by a Italian TV crew ahead of this week’s Volvo Ocean Race Legends regatta when a near perfectly preserved pair of Ray-Ban shades inside a battered case were pushed into his hands.
'I thought they were lost forever!' grinned Dalton who immediately put them on. 'I’m absolutely delighted to have them back.'
Fisher & Paykel skipper Grant Dalton - © Jamie Lawson-Johnston/PPL
Fisher and Paykel was skippered by Dalton for the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race – the event now known as the Volvo Ocean Race – but was forced to accept second best following Sir Peter Blake’s all-conquering run on Steinlager 2 that year.
But Grant, a six-time veteran of the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race and head of the Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand challenge in this year’s edition, returned to triumph in the following race in 1993-94 as skipper of Endeavour.
Apparently, the sunglasses had been lost behind a radio but were discovered when work was being done to prepare Fisher and Paykel for the Legends Regatta in Alicante.
The Legends features 16 boats from the previous 10 editions of the race dating back to 1973-74, including Steinlager 2, and many of their crews have returned to the Costa Blanca to be reunited with their vessels for the first time since their glory days.
The first winner of the event, Mexican Ramón Carlín, who is now well into his 80s, has joined around 650 former sailors and shorecrew attending the nostalgic get-together.
The Legends boats will be racing over two short courses on Wednesday and Thursday with a handicapped start.
Volvo Ocean Race website