'This crew selection is an unparalleled opportunity for young sailing talent to become part of… the Volvo Ocean Race,' said Jan Berent HEUKENSFELDT JANSEN, Managing Director of Team Abn Amro.
The American sailors were observed and tested on a variety of skills - everything from their technical expertise to life-saving techniques. After four days of intense competition, three 25 year olds, Andrew McCORMICK, Jack JENNINGS and Jan MAYER were joined by 24 year old George PEET and Andrew LEWIS, age 22.
'Team Abn Amro is very proud to be supporting young sailing talent from the United States,' said JANSEN. 'These five candidates will have the chance to compete with some of the world's best young sailors for a spot on the Abn Amro second boat,' he added. JANSEN was keen to point out Team Abn Amro had taken great care in choosing some of the best young sailors for the US crew selection. 'We expect great things from these American sailors.'
The selection team was comprised of Maurice PAARDENKOPER, the trainer of the Dutch Olympic sailing selection for the Athens Games, Sailing Director Roy HEINER (NED) and Hans HORREVOETS (NED), a former Whitbread sailor.
Finalist JENNINGS summed up the sentiment shared by all five sailors. 'I am so relieved,' he said. 'And to think this is really only the beginning!'
The five American winners will now travel to Portimao, Portugal on 14 March 2005 for the final second boat crew selection. There, the final crew for the second Abn Amro boat will be selected. Among those chosen will be two sailors each from Brazil, the Netherlands and the United States - and another two from the 'rest of the world. The second boat will also have four experienced sailors on board, who have not yet been chosen.