The Volvo Ocean Race entries are emerging from their builders and training has begun in earnest before the start in September. Here’s a rundown on the seven syndicates and a report on what is happening in some of the camps.

ASSA ABLOY Racing Team

Skipper: Roy Heiner – NED. Co-Skipper/Navigator : Mark Rudiger – USA. Designer: Farr Yacht Design. Builder: Green Marine, Lymington, UK (2 boats). Launch date: May 13 2001.

illbruck Challenge

Skipper: John Kostecki – USA. Designer: Farr Yacht Design. Builder: Killian Bushe, Germany. Launched: 31 March.

Djuice Dragons

Skipper: Knut Frostad – Norway. Designer: Laurie Davidson – NZ. Builder: Cookson Boats, Auckland, NZ (2 boats). Launch date: June 16th 2001 in Oslo.

Nautor Challenge

Skipper: Grant Dalton – NZ. Co-skipper: Bouwe Bekking – NED. Designer: Boat 1: German Frers; Boat 2: Farr Yacht Design. Builder: Nautor, La Ciotat. Launch date: To be announced.

Team News Corp

Skipper: Jez Fanstone – UK. Designer: Farr Yacht Design. Builder: Cookson Boats, Auckland, NZ. Launched: April 27th in New Zealand.

Team SEB

Skipper: Gurra Krantz – Sweden. Designer: Farr Yacht Design. Builder: Richard Gillies/Tim Smythe – Sweden. Launched: 4 May.


Skipper: Kevin Shoebridge – NZ. Designer: Farr Yacht Design. Builder: Eric Goetz – Rhode Island, USA. Launched: March 25th, 2001 in Bermuda.


After training and crew selection period in Sydney, the ASSA ABLOY Racing Team has appointed four experienced sailors to the race crew, Sidney Gavignet (FRA), Mike Joubert (RSA), Richard Mason (NZL) and Stu Wilson (NZL).

djuice dragons

Norwegian challengers djuice dragons are packing up their training camp in Miami after almost three months of training on the new boats, djuice I and djuice II. On 15 May, both boats will set out from Miami to Baltimore, Baltimore to La Rochelle, La Rochelle to Gothenburg and finally from Gothenburg to Norway. Adding these legs to the Sydney-Hobart which the team has already raced, djuice dragons will have sailed four of the eight legs of the Volvo by June. The testing phase in Miami has been judged highly successful. Paul Davis, sail manager says: “We have achieved what we wanted with the geometry of the sails. We have determined the sizes and the crossovers in the inventory and made a plan for the 2nd and 3rd generation sails to be tested this summer.”

djuice will be christened on 16 June in a big ceremony at Aker Brygge, downtown Oslo. Around 10,000 people are expected to attend and some of the biggest names in the Norwegian music and entertainment industry will perform.

Team SEB

Team SEB’s boat is one of five Farr designs, but the syndicate is making much of the fact that it has been optimised for the new points system applied to this race. This means a new deck layout, with a big cockpit and two companionways to speed up crew movement round the boat. She was built at and launched from Sune Carlsson’s Boatyard in Saltsjöbaden, near Stockholm and christened on 4 May by Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria of Sweden.

In the run-up to the start, Team SEB has moved its training base from Portugal to Gothenburg, where it will stay until mid-August .

Nautor Challenge

Nautor is the furthest behind on their boats and training for the race. Work on their two V.O.60 yachts is still underway at La Ciotat, near Marseilles. One of the yachts is designed by German Frers Jr and the other by Farr Yacht Design.

The deck is now on the Frers boat. The next step is fit out and to get the sytems working by the planned launch date of 5 June. The Farr hull is, however, further behind, and has just been turned over.

Overseeing construction of the two yachts is Paul Quinn, the New Zealand boatbuilder who worked with Grant Dalton on the New Zealand Endeavour and Merit Cup Whitbread campaigns, and Club Med for The Race.