Following in the footsteps of Matthew HUMPHRIES (GBR), the youngest skipper ever in the Volvo Ocean Race, sailing Dolphin and Youth in 1993-94, this year there will be two youth teams competing in the Volvo Baltic Race, starting on 21 June.
Meeting the team of Swedish young sailors team, sailing Dennis CONNER'S former Whitbread entry Winston, will be Pontona Youth, from Denmark. Crewed by a young, but very experienced team of top level Danish sailors, this team is set to challenge the established sailors hoping for glory in the Baltic.
Pontona Youth is skippered by Thomas Dahl JENSEN, who has managed this racing team since 2001, and the crew will be partially chosen by the Danish Sailing Federation.
says skipper Thomas DAHL JENSEN, "is to beat the Swedish youth entry, but also to begin to build a strong team for a future Volvo Ocean Race. Our boat is Yamaha, and although we feel she is still quite competitive, we think that team skills and stamina will be more important. Some teams will be racing newer boats with carbon masts, which we don't have, so we will have to compensate with enthusiasm and will."
"The fact that there will also be a youth team from Sweden, sailing Nilorn, the former Winston, will add an extra flavour to the race, giving us an interesting and highly competitive race-within-a-race"
Dahl Jensen adds.
The common goal for both youth teams is to nurture a new generation of ocean racers, and the Danish youth team, Pontona Youth, will be working hard to bring Danish glory to ocean racing both in this race and in the future. Glenn Bourke, three times Laser world champion will be the secret weapon onboard Nilorn, and it will be fascinating to see which of these two teams of enthusiastic and capable young sailors comes out on top.
Meanwhile, Matthew HUMPHRIES, now living in Sweden, skippers Challenge, the former News Corp, with Whitbread winner, Ross FIELD among the crew, in attempt to be the first winner of the inaugural Volvo Baltic Race.
The Volvo Baltic Race is a two-week event held in Germany and Sweden providing class racing for V.O.60s, the class of boat formerly used over three races in The Whitbread and latterly, the Volvo Ocean Race.
A mixture of inshore and offshore racing, the event commences as part of Kiel Week with the 25 nm Eckenforde Race in Germany, on J21 une. Other offshore events in the series include the Accenture Gotland Runt (340nm) starting from Sandhamn, Sweden on 29 June, and the final leg (510nm) from Sandhamn to Marstrand, which will finish around 5 July.
Interspersed with the offshore racing will be a number of windward/leeward races in Kiel and Sandhamn and also a Parade of Sail from Sandhamn to Stockholm where the fleet will stay overnight. The event is organised by Viamare and KSSS (the Royal Swedish Yacht Club) in co-operation with Volvo and SEB.