To mark the new era of Nautor, the world renowned builder of fine racing and cruising yachts, the company has decided to launch the Nautor Challenges for the next Volvo Ocean Race with two new Volvo Ocean 60s to be built in a yard, under Nautor's resp...
To best exploit the opportunity from a comprehensive works entry in the Volvo Ocean Race and the experience gained with this return to the offshore testing arena, Nautor is using a specialised yard on the French Mediterranean coast. World class yachtsman, and most recent winner of the Whitbread Race, Paul Cayard, is the chairman of this new Nautor division. This Nautor/French yard, dedicated to custom build and special projects, currently has two Volvo Ocean 60 hulls, the class used for the Volvo Ocean Race, in mid-construction. The first of these boats, to be launched in May, will be a German Frers design. The second boat, to be launched in late June, will be a Bruce Farr design. Farr is the current reference in Volvo Ocean Race design having won every Whitbread Race since 1985.
Once launched, the two boats will engage in an intensive two-boat testing programme before both boats start the Volvo Ocean Race from Southampton on 23rd September 2001.
Sailing director and sports project manager for this exciting Volvo 60 build and test programme will be New Zealander Grant Dalton. Dalton is currently at sea, as skipper aboard the Maxi-catamaran Club Med, which is currently leading The Race. For this Volvo project, Dalton is being supported by Dutch-born sailor Bouwe Bekking.
The Nautor Challenges boats will fly the burgees of two yacht clubs, the Finnish NJK Yacht Club and the Italian Yacht Club Costa Smeralda which was the first Italian yacht club to challenge in an America's Cup.