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18 January 2005, 10:31 am
First Volvo 70 Christened
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006

The first of the two TEAM ABN AMRO Volvo Open 70 race yachts was Christened in Portugal yesterday. The event was broadcast via a live web-cast using the latest satellite uplinks and webcams allowing all the banks and their 105,000 employees worldwide to take part.
The long awaited launch of the very first of this new breed of ocean racers took place in Portimao, near Faro, in Portugal yesterday evening, amidst smoke, lasers, fireworks and 2,000 green and yellow balloons launched by local children.

A competition amongst the bank's 105,000 employees resulted in eight winners flown to Portimao to launch the boat, whilst further winners were also involved with the ceremony live from Brazil and Holland, where huge parties to celebrate the event were held.

The event was hosted by Mr Jan Berent Heukensfeldt JANSEN, Managing Director of Team ABN AMRO. Speeches by Mr Helder MARTINS, President of the Algarve Tourism Board and Mr Tom de SWAAN, Chief Financial Officer for ABN AMRO, the were followed by a huge firework display set to classical music.

This new design from Argentinian Juan KOUYOUMDJIAN, was built by Irishman, Killian BUSHE, and is the first of the new state-of-the-art Volvo Open 70s to be launched in preparation of the Volvo Ocean Race, which starts from Galicia, Spain in November 2005. The next boat to be launched will be Telefónica MoviStar, which is currently nearing the end of her build programme in Australia.

TEAM ABN AMRO will now start testing and fine-tuning the boat for the bank's bid in the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006. The crewmembers of the first boat are professionals, personally selected by skipper Mike SANDERSON and technical director Roy HEINER. Two new crewmembers were introduced during the christening ceremony: Sidney GAVIGNET and Mark CHRISTENSEN.

Mike SANDERSON - Skipper (New Zealand)
Stan HONEY - Navigator (USA)
Brad JACKSON - Watch Captain (New Zealand)
Mark CHRISTENSEN - Watch Captain (New Zealand)
Tony MUTTER - Helmsman Trimmer (New Zealand)
Robert GREENHALGH - Helmsman Trimmer (GBR)
Sidney GAVIGNET - Helmsman Trimmer (France)
David ENDEAN - Trimmer Pitman (New Zealand)
Jan DELLER - Bowman (France)
Justin SLATTERY - Bowman (Ireland)

Lizzie Green
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