Fifth time around for Chris Nicholson

Photo: Brian Carlin / Team Vestas Wind
Just two months ago the Danish wind power giant stepped in to back their Volvo Ocean Race campaign
Going to a one design for this Volvo Ocean Race will make for a closer competition between the entire fleet, but has also had the beneficial effect of allowing 11th hour entries not only to make the start line, but in a potentially competitive way. The seventh entry in this Volvo Ocean Race was a long time in gestation. In fact the fight was to find someone to take the sixth boat off the Green Marine production line (ie not the last - hull #7 is MAPFRE). Rumour has it that hull #6 was originally destined for a private Dutch owner to take in the race. However when that fell through the Volvo Ocean Race organisers brokered their second team sponsorship deal of the race (after Alvimedica), this time with Danish wind energy company Vestas (one time backer of Paul Larsen’s SailRocket campaign), the new team formally announced only in mid-August, just two months out from the race start. Having been poised to be part of an Emirates Team New Zealand-Pedro Campos joint venture team that came to nothing earlier in the year, Chris Nicholson was the obvious choice to skipper Team Vestas Wind. This is Nico’s fifth Volvo Ocean Race, the former 49er World Champion having started his round the world racing career in 2001 with Grant Dalton on Amer Sport One and followed it up with movistar and Puma before skippering the Team New Zealand crew on Camper three years ago. On the Team Vestas Wind crew are a mix of extremes, from the highly experienced to complete first timers. Among the former are Camper returnees Tony Rae and Rob Salthouse while Wouter Verbraak is on board as navigator, who sailed his first race with Knut Frostad aboard the VO60 djuice dragons and was then with Pirates of the Caribbean.