Thursday, April 22, 2010

Emirates Team NZ names VOR skipper

[Source: Emirates Team New Zealand] 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 and in 200-09 he was co-skipper of Puma, which finished second.

Nicholson, aged 40, represented Australia at the Olympics in 2000 and 2004. He was 49er world champion in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and world champion in the 505 class in 1992, 1994 and 2002.

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

Chris Nicholson (left) with 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.

Minoprio has returned to the circuit in 2010, with every intention of defending his hard-won title.

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 in Auckland in August. It will be launched early next year and undergo sea trials before being shipped to Spain.

Camper, the Spanish-based international footwear manufacturer, announced its decision to enter the Volvo Ocean Race on April 12. Camper is a family-owned company which started making shoes on the Spanish island of Majorca in 1877. Today Camper operates directly 320 stores and “shop-in-shop” locations in 42 countries and distributes its products through 2800 independent retailers.

The Volvo Ocean Race starts at Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and will finish at Galway, Ireland, in June 2012.

Stopover ports are Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajai (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France).

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