by Lizzie Ward
Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion, which takes place in Alicante, Spain this November, latest entry is the classic Italian yacht Tauranga.
Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion logo
The Swan 55’ Sparkman and Stevens designed Tauranga took part in the very first edition of the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74, completing the 27,000 nautical mile course in 185 days and finishing in 10th place overall.
Tauranga and the other vintage yachts making their way to Alicante from all over the world represent a bygone era of ocean racing and their design and construction contrast starkly with the high tech Volvo Open 70s used in the modern day Volvo Ocean Race.
During the two-day regatta in Alicante Tauranga will line up against yachts from the first 10 round the world races including the late Sir Peter Blake’s 1989-90 race winner, Steinlager 2 and 1973-74 Whitbread Race competitors, Great Britain II, Copernicus and Adventure/Dasher.
As a keen sailor, Tauranga’s current owner Michele Bruno is looking forward to his yacht being a part of the Legends Regatta and hopes to have Tauranga’s original race skipper Erik Pascoli as part of his crew.
'Owning this boat is like being the custodian of a piece of history. In the process of successfully completing the first Whitbread Round the World Race, Tauranga became the first ever Italian yacht to round Cape Horn in a race, a milestone made more unique in those days by the fact that her crew included a woman, Zara Pascoli.
'Tauranga comes from a different epoch, a different world, and part of that world was the ability to dream and to pursue dreams. Other than the amazing experience and the fun we hope to have, this is the kind of spirit we hope to contribute to Alicante. Being there will probably be a dream come true for one of our crew members, Cristian Tarasco. Cristian is a paraplegic sailor competing internationally in the 2.4 metre class and currently ranking second in the Italian International Association for Disabled Sailing. Cristian is a great guy and I’m very proud of having him on board.'
Aside from the opportunity for these spectacular ocean-going yachts to compete against each other once more, the Legends Regatta will also offer previous Whitbread Race competitors the chance to get together, renew old friendships and reminisce about their round the world race exploits.
Mexico’s Ramon Carlin is particularly looking forward to being reunited with his 1973-74 race-winning crew from Sayula II – many of whom have not seen each other since Prince Philip presented them with the winner’s trophy in London in the spring of 1974.
Now in his eighties, Mr Carlin is also hoping to meet with Cornelis van Rietschoten, the owner and skipper of two Whitbread Race winning yachts Flyer (1977) and Flyer 2 (1981). Rietschoten himself is planning his own Alicante reunion with many of the former Flyer crew.
The Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion will take place in Alicante, Spain from November 1-5, 2011, between the first In-Port Race and the Leg one start.