Boating Partners UK Ltd (BPUK) is pleased to announce their aim of entering the world's first fully funded, properly supported female crew into the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06.
In order to assist with achieving this unique and exciting campaign, BPUK's Managing Director Manley HOPKINSON has enlisted the support of professional sailor Emma WESTMACOTT. BPUK views the Volvo Ocean Race as an ideal marketing platform for major companies and the option of a crew of yachtswomen, as well as a men's crew, further widens the possible spectrum of brands that could be involved with the 'world's premier ocean race'.
"We have always felt strongly that the time is right for a crew of leading yachtswomen to have a proper shot at the Volvo Ocean Race. This will involve having a boat specially designed and built for them from the start as well as receiving the funding, support and preparation time that is required to be fully competitive in the race. We believe that any sponsoring brand will receive incredible levels of media coverage from a competitive female crew."
Speaking from Gothenburg, Volvo Ocean Race CEO Glenn BOURKE commented, "There has been an all female team racing in the event since 1989 and we are delighted that Manley and his team are supporting a female crew. With the introduction of the new Volvo Open 70 we specifically included in the rules the addition of two extra crew-members for women crews in order to make it a level playing field in terms of strength, and we believe, that with proper funding and training, a female team will be fully competitive. "
Emma WESTMACOTT has enjoyed a successful sailing career and is certainly no stranger to the Volvo Ocean Race, having been involved in two previous race campaigns. In last edition of the event in 2001-02, she was watch leader for Amer Sport Too and was involved with the campaign from the outset; running both team fitness and onboard electronics. Emma also competed in the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race, the predecessor of the Volvo Ocean Race onboard "EF Education", as a helmsman and trimmer. Emma has been involved in other round the world campaigns including a Jules Verne (a non-stop round-the-world record attempt) as watch leader on 'Royal and SunAlliance', with Tracy EDWARDS.
"Boating Partners has recognised the determination and drive displayed by female crews in previous races, the huge achievements that were made given the circumstances and experience level on the water, and, not least, the exposure gained for the sponsor. The female team generally comes in at the last minute and is used as a training boat, ending up with the team becoming the second or 'B' team, with insufficient training and funding. There is now an enormous opportunity for brands to be associated with a highly trained crew of yachtswomen sailing a specially designed boat. This team will be fully prepared for the challenges involved, with the goal of taking women's sailing and women in sport to another level,"
BPUK is entering the Volvo Ocean Race to win both on and off the water and it intends to do so by bringing together the best in the world for each facet of its campaign. The syndicate has already formed partnerships with a number of commercial groups including: a design team combining the respective offices of Rob HUMPHREYS and Jason KER, Musto, North UK, Formula Spars, Marine Pics, S2 Marketing, Mission Performance and World Sport SA. In compiling such an impressive team, BPUK intends to give itself the best possible opportunity of success in this grand prix event, and the team will be based at Gunwharf Quay in Portsmouth.