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Volvo Ocean Race- Team Vestas Wind name crew and leave for Qualifier

by Richard Gladwell, on 1 Sep 2014
Team Vestas Wind before leaving for Alicante, Spain. Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race
The latest entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, Team Vestas Wind left Southampton on Sunday, heading for the race start port in Alicante, Spain.

The team will take on the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic waters off Spain and Portugal before reaching the Mediterranean to complete the obligatory 2,000-nautical-mile qualifying distance.

The team has announced their full crew for the 40,000nm race around the world.

Four Volvo veterans will join former Camper skipper, Chris Nicholson.

The other three members of the crew are all on their first tour of the planet.

Two members of the Camper sailed by Emirates Team New Zealand crew will join their former skipper, bringing a solid core of experience from the previous event.

Tony Rae and Rob Salthouse have signed on with Team Vestas Wind. The two Kiwis have seven Volvo Ocean Races on their personal logbooks.

The pair are joined by two other crew members with Race experience, Dutch navigator Wouter Verbraak and the first Argentine to be named for this year’s race, Maciel Cichetti.

Verbraak fills the vital role of navigator. He stepped in at the last moment for Alex Thomson, to skipper Hugo Boss in the 2010-2011 Barcelona World Race (two-handed) in conjunction with Andy Meiklejohn (NZL). His other events include the some legs of the Volvo Ocean Race as navigator, Americas Cup (Mascalzone Latino), Oryx Quest, and Tour de France à la Voile.

He was crew for the 1999 Admirals Cup, TP52 MedCup, Middle Sea Race, Cape Town to Bahia Race and the Sydney to Hobart. He co-skippered the Elanders and Avant boats in the Volvo Baltic Race and he has advised sailors on strategy and weather in the Vendee, Route du Rhum, the Jaques Vabre and the Olympics.
Verbraak has a Masters degree, completed in Sydney, with seabreezes as his thesis.

Volvo Ocean Race Director, Knut Frostad, selected Verbraak to be the co-navigator in the Djuice Dragons in the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race campaign, which marked the start of Verbraak's professional sailing career.

Maciel Cichetti competed in the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race as a helmsman trimmer. He stepped off the boat after Leg 2 with a back injury, before re-joining for Leg 5 to the race finish. He will be a helmsman trimmer aboard Team Vestas Wind.

Nicholson will also have plenty of new talent on board with 23-year-old Australian Tom Johnson joining Danish Volvo Ocean Race first-timers Nicolai Sehested and Peter Wibroe.

Johnson comes off a background of 49er sailing and foiling Moths, as well as the Extreme 40's. He placed second in the 2013 West Australian 49er State titles, in a fleet of 13 boats.

To complete the team, Irish film-maker and photographer Brian Carlin will be responsible for bringing the story of Team Vestas Wind to millions of fans around the world as Onboard Reporter.

Nicholson expects the crew to come together very quickly. 'We need a crew with plenty of guys on board who know exactly what the Volvo Ocean Race is all about, guys who can hit the ground running and help make us competitive in the shortest time possible. And we also need a team that can gel quickly because this race more than ever before, will be about teamwork and making the right decisions together.'

'We’re confident we’ve achieved just that with a mixture of huge experience in Trae (Rae), Salty (Salthouse) and myself, and guys who are ready to learn from them like Nicolai (Sehested) and Peter (Wibroe).'

Full Crew List:
Chris Nicholson (Australia) (45) - has has competed in the Volvo Ocean Race four times. He has represented Australia at the Sydney and Athens Olympics and is a six-time world champion in the 505 and 49er classes, as well as being a top 18ft skiff skipper. He finished second last time in 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Nicolai Sehested (Denmark) (24) - trimmer and boat captain - has a solid background in match racing, and recently competed in the Extreme 40 series.

Peter Wibroe (Denmark) (29) - trimmer, data processing, food - also has a solid background in match racing. He was a crew member in the Extreme 40's and has competed in the Melges 32 and RC 44. Pete has a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences with a master’s degree in nanotechnology.

Tony Rae (New Zealand) (53) - trimmer, helmsman, media, sailmaker - has competed in the Volvo Ocean race four times. He has been a member of Team NZ since 1987 and has been with Team NZ for all seven of their America’s Cup campaigns.

Rob Salthouse (New Zealand) (48) - watch capatin, helmsman, trimmer, sailmaker - has competed in three Volvo Ocean Races, four America Cup regattas with Team New Zealand, eight Sydney-to-Hobart races.

Tom Johnson (Australia) (23) - helmsman, trimmer, bowman, sailmaker - has recently competed in the Extreme 40 Sailing series and has a strong background in Moth and 49er sailing.

Wouter Verbraak (Netherlands) (38) - Navigator - has competed in the Volvo Ocean Race twice, the America’s Cup (Mascalzone Latino) and the 2011 Barcelona World Race.

Maciel Cichetti (Argentina) (40) - Watch captain, Helmsman, Trimmer - experience in Volvo Ocean Race and Americas Cup. He is a World Champion in the RC 44 sailing class and a highly sought after trimmer in the TP 52’s.

Brian Carlin (Ireland) - On Board Reporter (OBR) (30) - Brian has a long history in film and photography in the sailing arena.

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