Volvo Ocean Race – Legendary Spanish sailor completes Abu Dhabi crew

Legendary Spanish sailor ‘Chuny’ completes Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing line-up
Abu Dhabi's contesting squad for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, has completed its eight-man crew line-up with the signing of Spain’s Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermúdez de Castro Muñoz.

A Volvo Ocean Race veteran,44-year-old ‘Chuny’ has now joined the team at its Portuguese training base in Cascais.

‘Chuny’ is one of Spain’s most accomplished professional sailors having represented his country at the Athens 2004 Olympics andraced for Spanish teams in the America’s Cup and the highly competitive Audi MedCup. His Volvo Ocean Race track record features podium finishes in four out of the five races he’s competed in.

Chuny finished third overall on Galicia 93 Pescanova in the 1993-94 Whitbread Race, before going one better in the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race when he was second overall aboard Assa Abloy alongside current ADOR Performance Director Neal McDonald as Skipper.

After another third in the 2005-06 edition aboard Brasil 1, in 2008-09, Bermúdez recorded his only result outside the top three, when he finished seventh on Dutch entry Delta Lloyd.

In the last race, sailing alongside ADOR’s Andrew ‘Animal’ McLean aboard Camper, Chuny finished second overall.

'Chuny’s Volvo Ocean Race experience is remarkable,' said Ian Walker. 'As well as being one of the most sought after professional sailors around, he’s also a thoroughly nice guy and fits perfectly into our line-up.'

Now taking on the race for a remarkable sixth time, the affable Spaniard is gunning for victory and says he joined ADOR because he believes it has what it takes to bring the coveted Volvo Ocean Race trophy to Abu Dhabi.

'I know all the crew and I have sailed with Animal, SiFi, the ADOR navigator, its bowman Justin ‘Irish’ Slattery and Neal McDonald before,' Chuny said.

'I’ve only ever raced against Ian and have a lot of respect for him and the rest of the crew as fierce competitors. That’s how I know this is a good strong team and one I’m proud to be a part of.'

As a member of the Camper team during the 2011-12 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, Chuny saw at first hand the welcome the race fleet received on its arrival into Abu Dhabi, and the Spaniard is looking forward to a similar reception when he arrives into the UAE capital in December as part of the home team.

'Abu Dhabi was such a special part of the Volvo Ocean Race last time around and I have really fond memories of the time we spent there,' said Chuny.

'The welcome from everyone in the emirate was unforgettable – so warm and hospitable – and the celebrations and events that took place around the stopover were the best of the whole race. This time I’m looking forward to seeing a bit more of Abu Dhabi, in particular to meet some of the young sailors there and to try out one of the traditional dhow boats that Adil Khalid, our Emirati crew member, has told me so much about.'

Like most Volvo Ocean Race competitors, Chuny says the hardest part about racing around the world would be spending time apart his family, wife Lola and their children, Lola (11), Carlos (9), and Pepa (7).

'I’ll miss my family of course,' he said. 'But I don’t like to be distracted by thoughts of home. In a race like this you have to concentrate 100 per cent so I don’t send very many emails back home. I think this comes from when I first did this race and there was no email. I think maybe we could send a fax, but that was all.'

Bermúdez, along with British double Olympic silver medallist Walker and the rest of the ADOR crew, Justin ‘Irish’ Slattery (Ireland), Phil ‘Wendy’ Harmer (Australia), Simon ‘SiFi’ Fisher (Britain), Luke ‘Parko’ Parkinson (Australia), Andrew ‘Animal’ McLean (New Zealand), and Adil Khalid (United Arab Emirates), will be based in Cascais for the next two and a half months as they train and prepare their brand new Volvo Ocean 65 yacht ‘Azzam’ for Abu Dhabi’s second consecutive Volvo Ocean Race tilt.

VOR Abu Dhabi website