French skipper Roland Jourdain confirmed his entry in the two-handed round the world race 27/4/07

Today in Paris, French skipper Roland Jourdain officially confirmed his participation in the non-stop Barcelona World Race – the new two-handed non-stop round the world yacht race starting November 2007 to be held every four years. Jourdain will race his Open 60 which has been renamed Veolia after signing a new title sponsorship deal with Veolia Environnement.

Jourdain (also known as Bilou) brings the total number of entries to seven, and is the 13th skipper to enter alongside many round-the-world professional sailors including Great Britain’s Alex Thomson. Jourdain has three circumnavigations to his name – competing twice in the Whitbread Round the World Race (now the Volvo Ocean Race) in 1985 and 1989 and the Vendée Globe in 2000/01. Unfortunately, keel failure forced him out of the 2004/05 Vendée Globe.

Jourdain announced his entry only two days before his 43rd birthday. His desire to compete in this new double-handed race has been no secret. At the launch of the Barcelona World Race in October 2005, Jourdain stated: “The double-handed format is the ideal mix. [With this race] I think that we manage to do what we always wanted for many years – the internationalisation, and gathering the offshore Franco-French world with the best Anglo-Saxon sailors will give us a lot of great competition.”

Roland Jourdain will race his IMOCA Open 60 under Veolia Environnement banners, having announced a new three-year partnership today. Veolia Environnement is a world leader in environmental services with more than 300,000 employees worldwide providing solutions to water, waste and energy management and freight and passenger transportation with a 2006 turnover of 28.6 billion euros.

Jourdain will be racing his existing IMOCA Open 60 in the Barcelona World Race. Designed by Marc Lombard, and built at the JMV yard in Cherbourg, the boat was launched in April 2004 in time for The Transat and the Vendée Globe. Initial fin problems prevented him from starting The Transat and although he started the 2004/05 Vendée Globe as one of the firm favourites, having finished the previous Vendée Globe in third place, Jourdain suffered structural keel failure five weeks into the non-stop solo race when he was lying in third. However, Jourdain was able to put this disappointment behind him when he won the IMOCA 60 division of the 2006 solo Route du Rhum. Since then his boat has undergone a major refit over the winter, working with both the original designers, as well as Volvo Ocean Race winning designer Juan Kouyoumdjian, and will be re-launched this coming June.

Roland Jourdain has chosen his co-skipper, which will be announced in a few weeks time.

Entries so far:
Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) & Damian Foxall (IRE) / Paprec-Virbac
Vincent Riou (FRA) & Sébastien Josse (FRA) / PRB
Dominique Wavre (SUI) & Michèle Paret (FRA) / Temenos
Alex Thomson (GBR) & Andrew Cape (AUS) / Hugo Boss
Jérémie Beyou (FRA) & Sidney Gavignet (FRA) / Delta Dore
Guillermo Altadill (ESP) & Brian Thompson (GBR) / Boat name tbc
Roland Jourdain (FRA) / co-skipper tbc / Veolia