Chris Nicholson named as skipper
Emirates Team New Zealand has appointed Olympic and round-the-world yachtsman Chris Nicholson to skipper Campers’ entry in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.
Nicholson is a veteran of three VORs, his first as a watch captain in 2001-02 on Amer Sports 1 which was skippered by Emirates Team New Zealand Managing Director, Grant Dalton. In 2005-06 he was a watch captain on board Spanish entry movistar while in 2008-09 he started as watch leader on Puma, which finished second, although Nicholson was forced to stand down when he sustain an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament on the race's second leg in India.
Outside of the Volvo Ocean Race, Nicholson, 40, also represented Australia at the Olympics in 2000 and 2004 in the 49er. While he finished 6th and 7th at the Games, Nicholson dominated the Olympic skiff class in its early days, World champion for three years running over 1997-9. He is also a long term 505 sailor who has won World Championships in this class in 1992, 1994 and 2002.
Nicholson will be joined by the Emirates Team NZ's 2009 World Match Racing Tour champion, Adam Minoprio. Minoprio’s young BlackMatch team has had a meteoric rise up the world match racing standings. After only two years on the professional circuit the team won the season championship and was first in the world match racing standings.
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.”
Volvo Ocean Race crews number 10 plus a media/camera person who plays no part in sailing the yacht. “We are working with Camper on recruiting other members of the crew,” Shoebridge said.
The Emirates Team New Zealand design team, headed by principal designer Marcelino Botin, is well advanced on the yacht’s design. Building will start at Cooksons in Auckland in August. It will be launched early in 2011 and undergo sea trials before being shipped to Spain.