Profile for Team Russia

The Russian entry is the wild-card of the fleet and, in many ways, harks back to an earlier era of round-the-world racing. To a certain extent, this is a Corinthian challenge, with the bulk of the funding coming from Oleg Zherebtsov. When he decided he was interested in the Volvo Ocean Race, he didn’t try to hire the latest rock star sailor. Instead, he called a trusted friend and sailing companion, the Austrian Olympian Andreas Hanakamp, and asked him to investigate what would be necessary to put together a team.

Hanakamp was well positioned, having worked in the media office for the race during the 2001-02 edition. He turned to former Race Director Michael Woods, and Team Russia was born.

On paper, the crew list doesn’t read as impressively as some of the others. Hanakamp, as skipper, has neither Olympic medals nor America’s Cup campaigns on his CV. But he does have strong leadership skills and clear ideas on what it takes to make a successful team.

Team Russia is in a position to surprise a lot of people. Outside expectations are low, but the Rob Humphrey-designed boat features some real innovations, and morale in the camp, with the team owner Zherebtsov on board, is high. The race finishes in St Petersburg, and there’s nothing he would like more than to lead the fleet into Russia.

Follow the team online at