Portsmouth (England) - 12 December month, 2007 - The Green Team will be the seventh entry into the Volvo Ocean Race. Double Olympic medallist Ian Walker is named as skipper. Reichel Pugh are the appointed designers and the Volvo Open 70 is already in build.
The Green Team has confirmed it will be the seventh entry into the Volvo Ocean Race 2008 -09, and British sailor Ian Walker is named as skipper.
Ian Walker's achievements in the last 12 years include two Olympic medals, four World Championships and being skipper and tactician for two America's Cup campaigns (GBR Challenge and +39). His most recent success has been as skipper of the TP52 Patcheswhere he worked alongside owner Eamon Conneely to secure the global championship in 2006.
As skipper of the Green Team entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, Walker will oversee both the design and build programme along with crew selection.
"Everybody I have spoken to enthuses about these boats and this race. I have not looked forward to going sailing so much for a long time. Many people will see me as a predominately inshore sailor, but you would have said the same about Torben Grael before the last race. You have to keep learning new things and pushing yourself in order to progress. I want a new challenge and offshore sailing is arguably the biggest growth area of our sport," explained Walker on his decision to become skipper of the Green Team.
Ian will get his first taste of sailing on a Volvo Open 70 in this year's Sydney Hobart Race.
The build of the Green Team Volvo Open 70 is underway at McConaghy Boats in China. The moulds are completed and the hull lamination has begun. Reichel Pugh and the structural engineers at Applied Structural Analysis Ltd (ASTA) are working on all the drawings to a strict timescale. The deck plan is well advanced as is the sail plan. The rig is under design and the team have completed their first sail wind tunnel testing in Auckland New Zealand. The aim is to have the boat commissioned in June 2008.
"I am pleased with the design and build team we have put in place and the progress made to date. Reichel Pugh have had great success in ocean racing, even though this will be their first Volvo project. They were the designers behind Alfa Romeo and Wild Oats; two of the most successful and fastest canting keel offshore racing yachts on the planet. Eamon and I worked with McConaghy Boats in China this year on the build of the TP52 Patches and were delighted with the results. We have already started wind tunnel testing sail designs with North Sails UK and the mast will be built by Southern Spars in New Zealand," explained Walker on their choices for the design and build of the Volvo Open 70.
Glenn Bourke, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race said: "It is fabulous to have another super-professional team skippered by an Olympic medallist entered in the race. After months of knowing about this team, it is wonderful that it is now formally announced. Ian Walker is a high profile skipper who will put together a professional campaign.
"We now have a fleet of seven boats, the same number as the previous iteration of the race, but higher still in calibre. We can never predict whether the numbers might increase, but with the possible postponement of the America's Cup there are now a couple of possibilities."
The team has secured initial funding for the team from a combination of private investment (led by a project board which includes John Kileen, Enda O'Coineen, Eamon Conneely and Jamie Boag as Team CEO), commercial sponsorship and government backing.
"To be able to announce Ian Walker as skipper and show we have a framework in place for a competitive entry is fantastic. We believe we have the necessary ingredients in place for a highly competitive entry at this stage," said Jamie Boag, CEO for Galway stopover and the Green Team.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 event will be the 10th running of this ocean marathon. Starting from Alicante in Spain on 4 October 2008, it will for the first time, take in ports in Asia. Spanning some 39,000 nautical miles, stopping at around 11 ports and taking nine months to complete, the Volvo Ocean Race is the world's premier yacht race for professional racing crews.
For more information on The Green Team contact:
Into the blue
T: +44 1983 203525
M: +44 7788 106762
For more information on the Volvo Ocean Race:
Reg Gratton, Communications Director Volvo Ocean Race
Mob: +44 07816 975 350
Notes to Editors
About The Green Team
The Green Team is currently funded by a syndicate, which combines private investment, commercial sponsorship and government backing. The syndicate have a board in place consisting of John Kileen, Enda O'Coineen, Eamon Conneely and Jamie Boag, with an advisory group to the board made up of leading Irish business names.
Failte Ireland and the Department of Arts Sports and Tourism are the principal sponsors of the Galway stopover port for the Volvo Ocean Race 2008 - 2009. http://www.greenteam.ie/
About Ian Walker, 37, resides Warsash, Hampshire
Ian Walker is one of Britain's most accomplished sailors with five world championships, two Olympic silver medals and two America's Cup campaigns to his credit. The two Olympic medals came in the 470 dinghy (Atlanta 1996) and Star keelboat (Sydney 2000). Ian then went onto Coach Shirley Robertson and her Yngling Team to gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics. When Briton launched its first bid for the America's Cup for 14 years in 2000, Walker was named as the skipper. Then in the 2007 America's Cup he joined fellow Olympic medallist Iain Percy as the navigator of the Italian team +39. America's Cup commitments were combined with the highly successful TP52 campaign as skippers of Patches, owned by Eamon Conneely. Walker has a Geographydegree from Cambridge University and is married with two young daughters.
1996 Atlanta - silver medal 470 dinghy class
2000 Sydney - silver medal Star keelboat class
2004 Athens - Coach to gold medal winning Yngling team
2002 - Skipper/helmsman GBR Challenge
2007 - Tactician +39 America's Cup
2006 - TP52 Global Championship Winner tactician, skipper Patches
2007 - 3rd Breitling MedCup circuit & 2nd Global Championships, skipper Patches