The Volvo Ocean Race winner will have its Caribbean racing debut in the BVI 23/2/07

The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival is held this year from 30 March – 1 April and will be welcoming ABN AMRO One, winner of the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race, for its first Caribbean racing season. The Volvo 70 will be competing in the Caribbean Big Boat Series, which is comprised of the Heineken Regatta in St Maarten, BVI Spring Regatta and Antigua Sailing Week.

Since winning the 31,250 mile round the world race, ABN AMRO One has competed in Cowes Week, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Race in Sardinia, the Sydney-Hobart Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta.

When asked why ABN AMRO One chose to compete in the Caribbean this year, Kate Fiarclough of Pitch PR replied: “The Caribbean regattas are a selection of events making up a world tour that ABN AMRO One has been on since winning the Volvo Ocean Race last June. The aim of the tour is to visit new places where the boat has not been before, giving employees, clients and the public the chance to see the race winning boat.”

BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival committee chairman Bob Phillips said: “ABN AMRO will be an impressive addition to our fleet of racing boats.”

The Volvo 70 is 70.5 feet long and more than 18 feet at its widest point. The mast rises to a height of 103.3 feet above the water and the boat draws almost 15 feet. Although the boat only races with two or three sails at a time, eleven sails were carried on each leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and there is a total inventory of twenty-four sails with the largest sail, a spinnaker, measuring 5382 square feet.

Skippering the boat, native New Zealander Mike Sanderson, has placed in two Whitbread Challenges, sailed with the America’s Cup Oracle BMW team and was a helmsman aboard Mari Cha’s transatlantic trip in which they set a new speed record. Joining him will be his wife, Emma Sanderson (nee Richards), solo round the world yachtswoman who was the youngest competitor and the first woman in the 2002-03 Around Along race.

The 2007 Sailing Festival is a low-pressure, three-day warm up for the regatta and starts on Monday 26 March with a welcome party at Nanny Cay. Three days of destination cruising, racing and Layday fun including the Nation’s Challenge Cup, lead up to the main three-day BVI Spring Regatta starting on 30 March. The expanded seven-day format has turned the traditional three days of racing action into a week-long sailing festival that takes participants throughout the British Virgin Islands.

Held annually on the first weekend of April, the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival is celebrating its 36th anniversary. It is now a seven-day event with two events back-to-back attracting an average of 150 yachts per year with eighty percent of the competitors from overseas.