Three time Laser world champion, Glenn BOURKE, has confirmed he will sail in this summer's Volvo Baltic Race, to start later this month.
Bourke will race, not as helmsman or skipper, but as mentor to the national Swedish young sailors team, coaching them on Nilörn, the most recent boat to enter the race.
"This is a great opportunity for talented Swedes to try out ocean racing in the presence of a real pro," said Björn Johansson, head coach of the Swedish national sailing team.
With a wealth of competitive sailing behind him, including the Olympic Games and the America's Cup, Bourke, formerly CEO of illbruck Challenge, the team which won the Volvo Ocean Race, is now boss of the Volvo Ocean Race and he will be an extremely useful asset to the young Nilörn team.
"We have sponsored Swedish sailing in different ways for many years, said Claes-Göran Nilsson, CEO Nilörngruppen. "With Glenn Bourke on board, we can now offer young talents a chance to sail a V.O.60 and at the same time be taught by a tactical professional."
"There is nothing I like better than racing with an enthusiastic team and I believe I can help out with pertinent tactical input. Not the least, the Volvo Baltic Race is a superb spring board for teams wishing to enter the Volvo Ocean Race in 2005," commented Bourke.
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 June 20th. Other offshore events in the series include the Accenture Gotland Runt (340nm) starting from Sandhamn, Sweden on June 29th, and the final leg (510nm) from Sandhamn to Marstrand, which will finish on approximately July 5th.
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.
At least seven V.O.60s are expected on the start line including the former News Corp, renamed Challenge with British sailor Matthew Humphries in charge, and the un-raced Assa Abloy, now racing under the banner of Sony Ericsson.