Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 kicks off tomorrow, 5th November, with leg one starting from Alicante in Spain and finishing in Cape Town, Africa.
Official Timekeeper IWC Schaffhausen will reward the overall winners of the IWC 24-Hour Speed Record Challenge in the Volvo Ocean Race with exquisite timepieces, offering an added incentive for teams to pursue record-breaking speed.
The team recording the greatest distance over a 24-hour period in each of the nine legs will receive an IWC Trophy.
The overall fastest time, over the entire eight months of the race, will land all 11 members of the winning crew with an IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Edition 'Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12'.
The watch will also be available for the public to buy and retails for 13,500 euros.
The limited release sports watch crafted from titanium is designed to pay tribute to extreme sportsmen taking on the Everest of sailing, boasting technical qualities that will withstand immense stresses and strains, just like Volvo Open 70 yachts and their expert crew.
The timepiece is water resistant to six bar, has screw-in crown with crown protection and is equipped with IWC-manufactured 89361-calibre movement, one of the most robust and advanced chronograph movements.
The state-of-the-art Volvo Open 70s are the fastest monohulls in the world. Ericsson 4 broke the world 24-hour speed record during the 2008-09 race, recording 596.6 nautical miles -- a mark that has not been bettered since.
Anticipation is fast building ahead of the start of the 11th edition of the world’s longest and toughest ocean race, as the third generation yachts are tipped to be faster than ever before, reaching speeds in excess of 40 knots -- about 70kph.
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad said there was potential for the yachts to blitz the 600nm 24-hour mark and set a new world record as part of the IWC 24-Hour Speed Record Challenge.
'These boats are very fast and the crews are the best in the world and now with the added incentive of the amazing prize, the chance of a record-breaking feat is even more likely,’’ he said. 'It is very prestigious among the sailing fraternity.
'To this day I can still remember when I was on Intrum Justitia when we broke the 400nm barrier in the 1993-94 race. It was a massive achievement that I was so proud of.
'This time, the fastest competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race will have the added bonus of a beautiful watch that they can wear for the rest of their lives as a reminder of that achievement.'
IWC Schaffhausen Department Manager Sponsoring and Partnerships Yan Lefort said that a partnership with the Volvo Ocean Race was an opportunity to demonstrate expertise in engineering, technology and quality.
A shared spirit of adventure, technical excellence, inventiveness, outstanding craftsmanship and a unique brand helped foster the relationship, Mr Lefort said.
'Going into sailing was a strategic decision. IWC Schaffhausen is a masculine brand, our tagline is ‘Engineered for Men’ and therefore the Volvo Ocean Race, as the toughest sailing race in the world, really touched a chord with us,' he said.
IWC Schaffhausen is also the official sponsor of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team. The team, owned by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, is the first ever Arabian challenger and is sailing under British skipper Ian Walker, twice an Olympic silver medallist. Volvo Ocean Race website