The Premier Challenge, Australia's only entrant into the Volvo Ocean Race will tomorrow commence its voyage to Vigo, Spain for the start of the Volvo Ocean Race

The Premier Challenge, Australia’s only entrant into the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 will sail their all – Australian Volvo Open 70 racer out of Port Philip heads and on to New Zealand tomorrow, where it will meet a ship bound for the start line in Vigo, Spain in November 2005 and complete its qualifying passage for the race at the same time.

“We got our new mast in yesterday and the boat looks absolutely fantastic,” enthused Grant Wharington, head of the syndicate and skipper of the yacht. He continued, “however, today is bitter-sweet. On one hand the yacht looks every inch of the high performance racer we expected, it’s an absolute glamour, but on the other, today was the last day for our professional crew, and we will now continue with a much diluted team, due to lack of funds. It is so frustrating as we have an awesome boat, and until today we had what we believe was the best, most cohesive crew, but not enough funding to realize our dream of winning the Volvo Ocean Race for Australia.”

“It’s been a long haul, that’s for sure” agreed Sailing Master Barney Walker, a twice round the world ocean racing veteran, “but it’s all come together nicely and it’s very hard to have to walk away now. I am proud of what we have achieved.” Due to the extreme conditions these high octane Volvo Open 70 crews are likely to encounter as they race around the planet at full speed, it is not realistic to expect that the team can continue with extremely limited funds and remain competitive.

With characteristic determination Wharington continued: “We have entered the Volvo Ocean Race 2005 – 2006, and we will go to the start and do what we can with the resources we have. We can only do what we can do and we are determined to make the best of it.”