by Lizzie Ward
Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion 2011 is to be held in Alicante, Spain, from 1 to 5 November.
Arriving Maritime to Festival of Brest 2008 - Volvo Ocean Legends Regatta 2011
Two-time Whitbread yacht, Traité de Rome, will be on the start line this November. Originally built in 1975 as an Admiral’s Cup yacht for German industrialist Willie Illbruck, whose son Michael won the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001-02 with American skipper John Kostecki, the 51’ Traité de Rome is one of the smaller yachts taking part in the Legends event.
Traité de Rome, originally named Pinta III after one of three boats Christopher Columbus took from Spain to the West Indies, was designed by Sparkman and Stephens and built under the watchful eye of Olin Stephens who made several trips from New York to oversee her construction at the Royal Huisman Shipyard in Vollenhove, Holland in 1975.
She was renamed Traité de Rome in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the founding document for the European Union in 1957 and was lent to the Sail for Europe Association to participate in the second Whitbread Round the World Race in 1977-78.
The idea to compete in the race came from French journalist Patricia Colmant, who was assigned by newspaper Le Soir to keep its readers up to date on political actions in Brussels. Patricia formed the non-profit organisation Sail for Europe Association along with Guy Vanhaeverbeke - a Belgian information official at the European Parliament, and experienced Belgian skipper Philippe Hanin. Together as Sail for Europe they planned to send Traité de Rome around the world as a kind of goodwill ambassador, with one crew member from each of the, at that time, nine European countries.
The idea of entering the race was quickly shared by leading European figures at the time. The tight budget came mainly from private companies supporting this audacious project.. Sail for Europe would also enter Traité de Rome in the Whitbread Round The World Race 1981-82.
In 1977-78 Traite de Rome was registered with the special sail number of EUR 1, and flew the European flag with nine gold stars, one for each country, and was skippered by Belgian-born Philippe Hanin who led the first ever European sports team in history to a highly commendable third place overall.
Once back in Europe, Traité de Rome embarked on a two-year tour of major European harbours including London, Dublin, Copenhagen, The Hague and finally to Athens to celebrate the conclusion of negotiations for Greece to join the E.U. She raced again in 1981-82, this time was skippered by Italian Antonio Chioatto finishing 14th.
Nowadays, Traité de Rome, still sailed by the volunteers of the non profit association Sail for Europe, follows a programme of events organised around the rotating Presidencies of the European Union. Once again skippered by Philippe Hanin, she will be proudly flying the European flag at the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion in November this year.
About Traite de Rome
Rig: Masthead Sloop
Designer: Sparkman and Stephens
LOA 51’ (15.60m)
Finished third WRTWR 1977-78
Elapsed time 22.214.171.124
Skipper Philippe Hanin (BEL)
Finished 14th WRTWR 1981-82
Elapsed time 166.10.40.09
Skipper Antonio Chioatto (ITA)
Entries in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion
1. Copernicus 1973-74 (45’: the smallest boat ever to race)
2. Great Britain II/Whitbread Heritage (Maxi - took part in the first five races
3. Rothmans 1989-90 (Maxi)
4. Berge Viking 1981-82 (Swan 57)
5. Charles Jourdan 1989-90 (Maxi)
6. Steinlager 2 1989-90 (Maxi Ketch)
7. Gauloises III 1981-82 (62’ Sloop) sailed by the French crew of Grand Louis/Japy-Hermes and Kriter IX
8. Traité de Rome 1977-78 and 1981-82 (51’ aluminium sloop)
The official Notice of Race and entry form is available for download together with full information on how to take part and a preliminary schedule of events here.
Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta website