Mike SANDERSON has joined Team ABN AMRO as their skipper for its 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race campaign. The experienced sailor from Whangarei, New Zealand will be the skipper on the first boat of the ABN AMRO Team.
Sanderson, who has twice sailed in The Whitbread - now the Volvo Ocean Race - is an experienced canting keel sailor. Roy HEINER, also a Whitbread veteran and responsible for technical management of the team, said today. "Mike matches with the team and with our boat. He has vast experience in sailing with a canting keel, a new feature of the specially designed class of the Volvo Open 70 to be used in this upcoming edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. As this device will be applied for the first time for a sailing race over such a long distance, Mike is the natural choice of skipper for us."
Mike SANDERSON said. "I am happy and proud that I have joined the ABN AMRO Team. It is an ambitious and promising campaign, which includes all elements to make the race successful."
Sanderson, 33, started sailing when he was five. Having won many national titles, he was invited to be the trimmer onboard Grant DALTON'S New Zealand Endeavour, winner of the maxi division of the Whitbread 1993-94. In the 1997-98 Whitbread, Mike was watch captain and sail co-ordinator on Dalton's W60 Merit Cup, which finished second. He is also the current record holder in the Sydney-Hobart Race and has been mainsheet trimmer for two America's Cup campaigns - Tag Heuer in 1995 and Oracle BMW in 2003. This last team was narrowly beaten by the eventual winner, Alinghi.
In October 2003, he was the driving force behind Mari Cha IV's historic transatlantic record, which smashed the previous record by two days. In the Transat 2004 Mike finished third in his first ever-solo race.
One of the world's leading race yacht designers, Argentinian Juan KOUYOUMDJIAN, has designed the boat, which is currently being constructed by Killian Bushe in Lelystad, the Netherlands.
ABN AMRO announced its participation in the Volvo Ocean Race in March this year. The bank considers its entry in this top sporting event an ideal opportunity to further strengthen its international brand awareness. In addition, qualities essential in this race, such as professionalism, flexibility, teamwork and innovation match the bank's corporate culture.