Peter de Ridder's VO70 makes race debut in North Sea Regatta 16/5/07

Peter de Ridder’s VO70 currently used for training in preparation for the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race is making her race debut with the new Mean Machine Volvo Ocean Race team by competing in the North Sea Regatta which started from Scheveningen yesterday.

The first offshore leg of this regatta is takes the fleet to Harwich covering a distance of 110 miles which means they should be arriving on the East Coast this morning. The second leg starts on 18 May. For the return leg, back to Scheveningen, the course has been made slightly longer (180 miles).

The CEO of the Mean Machine Syndicate, Peter de Ridder, and the Operations Manager, Dirk de Ridder have some of the familiar faces from their TP52 Medcup Circuit team on board and the Mumm 30/ Farr40, as well as experienced ocean sailors such as Jules Salter and Jono Swain. Youngsters like Simeon Tienport and Gert V.d Heijden will also join them, but they won’t be the only promising young stars on board.

Peter and Dirk de Ridder has confirmed their commitment to a policy of nurturing young talent by bringing in sailors from other projects in the Mean Machine family for this regatta.

As well as the official crew, the powerful VO70 Mean Machine has welcomed a special guest aboard – the winner of the Volvo Ocean Race Grinding Competition held at the 2007 London Boat Show.

Dirk de Ridder chatting about the team’s race debut said: “It will be a good opportunity to sail the boat as a team and see how we get on. We’ve also got to build a few new sails and systems on the boat for the new rule in the next race, and we want to try those out as well.”

The spirit of Mean Machine as a sailing platform will shine through yet again, as just for this race core members of the Volvo crew sail alongside the team’s TP52, Mumm30 and even Farr 40 class sailors.

During the winter months the team worked hard on many of the core aspects relating to the design of the future VO 70 that they will take to the Volvo Ocean Race. Much investigation and research has gone into areas such as sail development, where tests were carried out in wind tunnels in New Zealand; and also load tests, using the VO 70 test boat. It is important that Mean Machine number 21 is just right.