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28 May 2006, 10:33 am
Celebrity Sailors Star in Portsmouth
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Volvo Extreme 40 Grand Prix Series 2005-2006
Baltimore, Maryland, USA

This afternoon, Portsmouth will see the start of the Volvo Extreme 40 Grand Prix Series with celebrity sailors taking part in the high action catamaran racing.
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Round the world sailor Brian THOMPSON will be sailing this Sunday on Conrad HUMPHREYS' Team Motorola. THOMPSON who sailed with ABN AMRO ONE (Mike SANDERSON) on leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race as a helmsman and trimmer is a highly experienced monohull and multihull sailor. In 2004-05 he skippered the maxi-catamaran 'Doha 2006', the winner of the non-stop around the world race, the Oryx Quest. Also earlier in 2004 he competed in the amazing non-stop around the world speed sailing record as Watchcaptain aboard Cheyenne sailing around the globe in 58 days, 9 hours, 32 minutes, 45 seconds.

Joining THOMPSON on Motorola this Sunday is Duncan MCDONALD the talented inshore sailor and the brother of Ericsson Racing Team's skipper Neal MCDONALD. His greatest achievements have been in the Dinghy circuit, when he won the World Championships in the International 14's twice. In recent years he has also been sailing on high performance inshore monohull yachts. Speaking today MCDONALD said how excited he is to be sailing the Volvo Extreme 40's tomorrow.

'These catamaran's are absolutely awesome to sail on. Not only are they well built and well designed but they are relatively easy to sail and super fast. These cats have never raced in more than 20 knots so it will be interesting to see them outside of Portsmouth Harbour tomorrow if the breeze gets up.'

Third placed team Holmatro also has a guest sailing star with them tomorrow Andreas HAGARA. The Austrian sailor grew up sailing on Lake Neusidel, Austria on Hobie 16 catamarans, before moving onto the Tornado catamaran. He went onto win the Tornado World Championships in 1987 and is three times European Champion. Andreas has managed to accumulate so far in his sailing career 14 medals in the World and European Hobie 18 and 16 Championships and on top of all that he has now moved into the yacht racing scene as a tactician on an Austrian TP52.

Can't Wait To Get Racing

After having a successful morning of corporate sailing this morning, the crews of the Volvo Extreme 40's are preparing their boats for the battle that commences tomorrow. The all British team Basilica are busy on the dock this afternoon, skipper James GRANT can't wait to get racing.

'Basilica is an all British entry, with local British crew members and British sponsors, so we really have been looking forward to sailing in Portsmouth for some time. In Baltimore Tommy Hilfiger (Randy SMYTH) gave us a great run for our money in the gusty bay but here it should be different as we are sailing in both our home waters and in more open waters. The breeze should be more constant out there for us so hopefully we will beat the Americans. Which will give us a good head start going into the final series in Rotterdam.'

All five Volvo Extreme 40's will be out racing tomorrow off of Southsea front, with the start gun for the first race being fired at 1400 BST. With winds forecast to be around 15 knots the pace should be fast and furious making for a spectacular first day of the Portsmouth series.

Volvo Extreme 40 - Crew List

Team Hilfiger

Skipper: Randy SMYTH, USA
Crew: Jonathan FARRAR

Team Basilica

Skipper: James GRANT, UK
Crew: Alistair RICHARDSON
Crew: Jonathan TAYLOR

Team Holmatro

Skipper: Mitch BOOTH, NED
Sunday's Crew: Andreas HaDgara
Sunday's Crew: Taylor BOOTH
Sunday's Crew: Andreas HAGARA'S Tornado crew
Sunday's Crew: TBC

Crew: Taylor BOOTH
Crew: Herbert DERCKSEN
Crew: TBC

Team Motorola

Skipper: Conrad HUMPHREYS,GBR
Sunday's Crew: Brian THOMPSON
Sunday's Crew: Duncan MCDONALD
Sunday's Crew: Hamish OLIPHANT

Helm: Leigh MCMILLAN
Crew: Will HOWDEN
Crew: Hamish OLIPHANT

Team Volvo Ocean Race

Skipper: Yves LODAY FR
Crew: Greg HOMANN
Crew: Fraser BROWN
Crew: TBC

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

Sacha OSWALD (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Tommy Hilfiger wrapped things up in Baltimore :© Andy HERBICK
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