Nicholson to skipper Camper

Australian Olympian and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Chris Nicholson has been announced by Emirates Team New Zealand as skipper of Camper’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.

On April 12, Camper, the Spanish international footwear brand, announced its decision to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race, with Emirates Team New Zealand managing the campaign.

Nicholson will be joined by the current world match racing champion, New Zealander Adam Minoprio.

Nicholson has competed in three Volvo Ocean Races, first as watch captain for Grant Dalton, now Managing Director of Emirates Team New Zealand, in 2001-02 on AMER SPORTS ONE. In the next edition of the race he was watch captain on Spanish entry movistar.

In 2008-09 he was watch captain on second-placed PUMA Ocean Racing, but was plagued by a knee injury after a crew member fell on him during Leg TWO from Cape Town, South Africa to Cochin, India. Nicholson battled through the next leg to Singapore and the Singapore In-Port Race before having to retire from the race.

Nicholson, 40, represented Australia at two Olympic Games; Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004. He was 49er world champion from 1997 to 1999 and world champion in the 505 class in 1992, 1994 and 2002.

Minoprio, 24, and his young BlackMatch team have powered through the world match racing rankings. With only two years on the professional circuit under their belts, they became number one in the world on the 2009 tour. Minoprio is currently sixth on the 2010 circuit after one event.

Emirates Team New Zealand operations manager Kevin Shoebridge, who will manage the Camper project, said the appointment of Nicholson and Minoprio brought together veteran ocean racing experience and up-and-coming talent.

“Chris Nicholson is well-known to the team and brings the experience from a long and successful racing career to Camper.

“Adam Minoprio is a young yachtsman with drive, determination and skill, who will be an asset to Camper. His BlackMatch racing team already has a close association with Emirates Team Zealand and we have supported him on the match racing circuit. We are working with Camper on recruiting other members of the crew.”

The new boat will designed by Botin Carkeek in collaboration with Emirates Team New Zealand. Marcelino Botin is principal designer for Emirates Team New Zealand.

The plans for the Volvo Open 70 are said to be well advanced and the start of the build is planned for August this year, in Auckland. After sea trials early next year the yacht will be shipped to Spain.