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13 September 2005, 01:52 pm
Champagne Launch For Pirates
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006
Southampton, Great Britain

With a resounding smash and the traditional blessing, Lady Gabriella WINDSOR brought down the Champagne bottle on the bowsprit of the black and red Volvo Open 70. The Black Pearl had her name.
It was not quite what real pirates might have wanted, no buckets of rum, no flaming matches in Paul CAYARD's (USA) beard - no beard for that matter - and the glamorous Gabriella was not kidnapped by licentious brigands, but for the naming of the latest boat for the Volvo Ocean Race, the ceremony in Southampton, Great Britain was just about perfect.

Robert MITCHELL, MD of Buena Vista International, the power behind the latest Disney movie, admitted that the idea for the Pirates' entry in the Volvo Ocean Race was, 'either a brilliant idea or marketing suicide,' and went on to talk about the promotional campaign based on the race and their boats that will bring both to a new audience numbered in millions.

Skipper CAYARD limited himself to comments more grounded in the campaign and the boat, but when asked why he had come back for another go at this, the toughest of all the races, said, 'When you are talking about races, all the best stories come from the Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race. You have the rest of your life to go to a five star hotel after all.'

Pressed about the chances of his team following the late build and launch of their boat, CAYARD was upbeat, 'The teams with six months on the water will have an advantage. We might have to eat humble pie for the first couple of legs, but remember that Rio is three quarters of the way round the planet, but two thirds of the points remain. It's all on.'

CAYARD paid tribute to his team, picked for their experience and their ability to put the campaign together in the remarkably short time available. Indeed, they were about to show their preparedness by leaving the christening almost as soon as the champagne had dripped from the bow of the boat. With time pressing, CAYARD and his Pirates - team slogan, 'It's good to be a Pirate,' - set off into the sunset to sail their 2,000 mile qualifier.

With many a campaign conceived and launched in such a short time - the boat was built in about half the time it would usually take - you might be inclined to think that they had no chance to win. With CAYARD and his team in control you believe his statement. Expect to see the Pirates challenging for the top after a couple of legs.

Event Media. Image, Lady Gabriella WINDSOR names the Black Pearl:© Volvo Ocean Race 2005
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