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20 September 2001, 11:08 pm
Skippers and Navigators Media Briefing
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Volvo Ocean Race
Southampton

Just seventy six hours before the start, all 16 Skippers and navigators assembled in the Harbour Lights Cinema, Southampton, to share their views on the race.
Press Conference Transcript:

Introduction from Helge Alten, Chief Executive of the Volvo Ocean Race: "It feels strange to sit here after three years of preparation and we now have less than three days to go before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race.

We are always asked how much Volvo are investing in the Volvo Ocean Race,what are you spending and how much did you buy if for?

We bought it (the Volvo Ocean Race in 1998, from Whitbread) for US$7.5million and that included being the leg sponsor in the last race. On top of that we have invested US$20million over the last four year period and Volvo companies have supported the race with an extra US$16million. If you then add up the budgets of the syndicates, ports and additional sponsors, the total amount is between US$200million and US$250 million. In terms of a sporting event, that puts us in the major league, worldwide.

I am looking forward to a very close, fought race. It strikes me that we have eight exceptional boats and on each of the boats we have the best sailors in the world from Olympic sailors to world champions. It is clear that they are as prepared as they could be for the Volvo Ocean Race.

It will be well fought as we have changed the rules (since the 1997-1998 Whitbread) and there will now be equal points for each leg. No matter if it is a long leg or a short leg, you will get eight points for first place, seven for second etc.

This way the race is more interesting for the public and it also means that the race may not be decided until the fleet get to Kiel (the finish in June 2002).

In view of the tragic events in America last week, we have had a number of questions about the start of the race. I can confirm that the fleet will start on Sunday (23rd September) at 15.00hrs.

Of course we will mark our respect and we will do that at 11.00hrs on Sunday (23rd) at Ocean Village with a minute's silence before the start of the race.

Grant Dalton (skipper of Amer Sports One, Nautor Challenge) on how this race differs from any of the six others (5 Whitbread's and The Race) he has done:

"Every race has its peculiarities but I guess for us this one is a little more unusual in that our time is short. We are the only team racing two boats, which makes things more interesting. Twenty years ago I set out on my first round the world race, which was an adventure. This time it is the same set but a slightly different scene. There are butterflies in all of us (his crew) as I am sure all the others (skippers and crews) but time has been short which puts a lot more pressure on us to see early on if we are on the pace or not".
Volvo Press Office
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