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2 December 2005, 09:13 am
ABN AMRO TWO Exceeds Expectations
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006
Cape Town, South Africa

Everyone is full of pride and wonder for the relatively inexperienced crew of ABN AMRO TWO (Sebastien JOSSE), who crossed the finish line to finish this leg of the Volvo Ocean Race in second place at 1956 GMT in Cape Town on 1 December, just over six hours behind their team mates on ABN AMRO ONE.

They are now fourth position in the overall standings having received 9.5 points to date, including the scores from the In Port race in Sanxenxo, Spain and the points from this leg.

The youngsters made a mark early in this race, when they beat their big brothers on ABN AMRO ONE (Mike SANDERSON) in the In Port race, finishing fifth. They started out confidently from Vigo, facing their first big storm and showed their stamina and resolve.

'We are really delighted with where we have finished,' said skipper Sebastien JOSSE as he stepped ashore. 'It is wonderful to sail this time with a full crew, and the crew work exceptional. It was great to come in second.'

Navigator, Simon FISHER, said 'Absolutely fantastic result. We thought we could do something special if we sailed really well. We were disappointed to be fourth round Fernando de Noronha but we really dug our heels in during the second half of the race and we're delighted to get second. It has been fantastic arriving because the most stressful part of the race has been the last few hours, especially knowing that Brasil 1 was doing 20 knots behind us! We have obviously got a rocket ship here in certain conditions and we're very happy with the boat. '

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Grinding in heavy seas on
© Gerd Jan Poortman
This team has quietly been a contender all the way through this leg, waging a fierce war with Brasil 1 (Torben GRAEL) and Ericsson (Neal MCDONALD), who both beat them to the first scoring gate at Fernando de Noronha. For a lot of the time these three boats were within a few miles and sometimes even within eye sight. They even gave their team mates on ABN AMRO ONE a scare when they broke the world speed record last Sunday before them (later ABN AMRO ONE took this from them by a only a few more miles) and carried on reeling them in. But after nearly 20 days racing they were not able to overhaul the first boat in their team but they did confidently hold off the competition to prove the sceptics wrong.

They have been a constantly happy and optimistic crew, not only working hard on the yacht but also having real fun and the time of their lives. Their reports have been candid and interesting. They have recounted amusing stories about trading sweets on board, using the yacht as a washing line, incubating a mysterious rash amongst the crew, the pain of losing an ipod to the seas and Si Fi's (Simon FISHER) constant fretting.

'We're almost there, only fifty more miles to go and quite frankly I can't wait.' Si Fi wrote as they make their way down the final straight today. 'Everyone on board now is looking forward to stepping onto the dock, drinking a cold beer and relaxing after three hard weeks of racing. It's been a pretty awesome three weeks when I look back on it. Without a doubt our team has sailed better together in these past weeks than ever before. It really came together nicely. We have also been very pleasantly surprised by our boat speed and to find that we can battle it out with the front rank.'

ABN AMRO TWO is crewed by a team of hand picked international sailors, all under 31 years old and extremely skilled, but from a wide variety of sailing backgrounds. The original concept for this youth team was conceived by Mike SANDERSON (skipper of ABN AMRO ONE), Roy HEINER (Technical Sailing Director) and the Dutch Bank ABN AMRO. An Internet competition was set up where contestants sent in their CVs and answered questions on why they should compete in the Volvo Ocean Race. It had such a world wide response that the Bank's server was actually brought down by the sheer number of applications.

The thousands of young entries were then whittled down into four categories, representing the major markets in the world for ABN AMRO. After extensive trials where the contestants were sent to 'boot camp' and tested in many areas including, general fitness, mental attitude and of course sailing ability, finally 10 young men were chosen.

The final team then went on rigorous sea mile building exercises including taking part in and winning the Route de l'Equateur race as a prequel to the Volvo Ocean Race. Although the core of the team is relatively inexperienced, the pre-nominated skipper Sebastien JOSSE (FRA) and navigator Simon FISHER (GBR) both have a multitude of ocean miles under both their belts.

Sebastien JOSSE is predominantly known for his single handed sailing. He came fifth this year in the Vendee Glove, the world famous solo none stop race. He has also competed in offshore races, such as the Transat Jacque Vabre, the Transat and in the Figaro circuit.

Simon FISHER, is largely an inshore navigator having been part of the British America's Cup campaign, GBR Challenge, and K-Challenge in the present America's Cup series. But he does have lots of offshore experience racing on the Playstation and Maiden 2 as well as numerous Fastnet races and a Sydney Hobart race to his credit.

From the precedent they have set in this offshore leg, this team certainly looks like it has a very promising future and all the hard work to find the crew and bring them together from all walks of life and all parts of the world has paid off.

We can only imagine the party that will take place this evening for the ABN AMRO team in Cape Town and it is thoroughly deserved.

For a complete list of all the news about the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 CLICK HERE.

Event Media (As Amended by ISAF), Image: ABN AMRO TWO en route to Cape Town © Sally Collison
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