CAMPER/ETNZ ENTRY CONFIRMED
Camper, the Spanish-based international footwear brand, has confirmed that it will field an entry in the 2011-12 race. The campaign will be run by Emirates Team New Zealand.
The Volvo Open 70 will be known as Camper and will carry the burgees of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Real Club Náutico de Palma.
The announcement follows the confirmation last week that PUMA will be returning to the race with a boat to be skippered by Ken Read.
Camper joins PUMA, Groupama, Italia 70 and Team Abu Dhabi as declared entries. There are over 20 additional syndicates actively working on campaigns.
Camper is a family-owned company which started making shoes on the Spanish island of Majorca in 1877. Today Camper has a global footprint with 320 stores and "shop-in-shop" locations in 42 countries.
In announcing the Volvo Ocean Race project, a Camper company statement read: "The history and the authenticity of the race, the human adventure, the effort, the desire to improve and the teamwork fully fit the Camper values.
"For us it is a privilege to take our first steps in the Volvo Ocean Race together with Emirates Team New Zealand, undoubtedly one of the most professional sailing teams in the world. Despite New Zealand being in the antipodes of Majorca, we feel very close to them sharing their way of thinking and so ETNZ makes us feel confident when undertaking this project."
The collaboration with Emirates Team New Zealand sees the return to the race of Grant Dalton, the ETNZ managing director.
New Zealander Dalton has competed in the Whitbread/Volvo six times. He was part of the winning crew onboard Flyer in 1981-82, and took the maxi class honours with New Zealand Endeavour in 1993-94.
He finished second on Fisher & Paykel in 1989-90 after an epic battle with eventual winner and fellow-Kiwi Peter Blake on Steinlager 2. His most recent appearance was aboard Amer Sports One in 2001-02.
Dalton said a Volvo Ocean Race campaign was a natural fit for the team. "Our objective was always to diversify, once the team had re-established its credentials, as a means of keeping our people busy, focused and creative," he said.
"With Louis Vuitton, the team started the Louis Vuitton Trophy, Dean Barker and the team campaigned successfully on the Audi MedCup TP52 circuit last year and now we have a Volvo Ocean Race campaign to organise from scratch.
"The team has no shortage of experience with the Volvo Ocean Race and the Whitbread before it. It's no secret that I have never lost my enthusiasm for racing around the world.
"The Volvo project energises our team, allows our designers and engineers to get going and in Camper we have found a great partner. They are a family company with family values and a culture that fits very well with Emirates Team New Zealand and our family of sponsors."
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad said he was delighted to welcome Dalton back to the race.
"Grant, a former winner of this event, brings with him not only a wealth of experience, but a very charismatic and highly competitive team of sailors," he said.
"The people of Auckland will surely be very proud to watch the progress of Emirates Team New Zealand as it takes on some of the world's best.
"I would also like to welcome Camper to the Volvo Ocean Race family. We look forward to working with their strong international brand, elevating the profile of their new team and our race."
The next edition of the race will start in the Spanish port of Alicante in the autumn of 2011 and finish in Galway in the summer of 2012.
The course will include stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France).
The preliminary course will be published later this month.