Nautor Challenge chose its spiritual home – Porto Cervo on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda - officially to launch its Volvo Ocean Race challenge

The white stucco walls and terracotta pantiles that sweep the slopes of Porto Cervo have witnessed many 12-metre, Swan and Maxi events. Yesterday however, a new show came to town when Nautor Challenges, owners of Nautor Swan, officially launched their Volvo Ocean Race challenge.

Their two-boat challenge comprises the Farr-designed Amer Sports One, skippered by Grant Dalton, and the all-female crewed Frers-designed Amer Sports Too, with Lisa Charles-McDonald running the show.

Beatrice, wife of Nautor Swan president Leonardo Ferragamo, has assumed the role of godmother to the men’s boat and Princesse Zahra Aga Khan fulfilled a similar role for Amer Sports Too.

Ferragamo, president of Nautor Swan, and representatives of the Nautor Challenge major partners, Roger Talermo, President and CEO of Amer Group Plc and Chris Brodie, Managing Director, Corporate Finance of UBS Warburg.

Commodores of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Nylandska Jaktklubben, Finland, presented their clubs’ burgees to the Nautor Challenge who then introduced their crews to the guests.

For the Nautor Challenge team, the Porto Cervo ceremony marks the end of the construction phase and the start of an intensive seven weeks of tuning and training for the Volvo Ocean Race.

Immediately following the ceremony, the yachts set sail for Spain. They will sail through the Mediterranean and out into the Atlantic Ocean before turning north to the northern Spanish Town of Sanxenxo to arrive about 8 August, sailing at least 2,000 miles en route as a qualifying voyage for the Volvo Ocean Race.

The syndicate will train and test the boats in the Atlantic for three weeks before leaving for England and the 23 September race start off Southampton.