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12 March 2003, 12:38 pm
Major Contenders Announced
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Volvo Baltic Race
Baltic Sea

The battle of the Baltic promises to be one of this summer's major sailing events. Just two weeks after the announcement of the race there has already been positive responses from top V.O. 60 sailors and syndicates.
Matt Humphries has entered Challenge (ex News Corp), with Ross Field and Cameron Appleton in the crew. Swedish Semcon will enter with a crew of employees, which includes IACC and Olympic sailor Johan Barne and other Swedish top sailors. The syndicate sponsored by computer company Atea, has a boat ready and is negotiating with another Louis Vuitton warrior, Jesper Bank. More top names will be announced promises syndicate, SC Marknadskraft/ Elanders, who is also in negotiation with top sailors.

"We think that the combination of three classic regattas will bring a lot of attention to our event and that is one of the key factors for success," says Patrik Mehks Project Manager at Viamare, the Swedish yacht and hotel conglomerate and organiser of the event. "That we have four strong syndicates today, just two weeks after the announcing the race, is very encouraging. We have contacts with some really strong syndicates that are just about to put the ink on paper, so there will be more to come."

The Volvo Baltic Race received a blessing from Grant Dalton, one of the world's most experienced ocean racers. "I am delighted at Volvo's recent announcement of their continued and increased involvement in ocean racing. History has shown that syndicates that start with time on their side usually secure the podium positions in the Volvo Ocean Race proper. I commend both Volvo and Viamare on this exciting initiative and look forward to being part of a great regatta."

The two-week sprint version of Volvo Ocean Race, starts on June 21 when the fleet will participate in the opening race of the Kieler Woche; Eckenförde Race. After a windward/ leeward race in Kiel, the boats will race to Sandhamn finishing on June 25.

The boats will then go to Stockholm for a 24-hour stopover with a parade of sail and plenty of public activities. The boats will be berthed at Skeppsbron, within sight of the royal castle, on June 27 and racing will start again with the Accenture Round Gotland Race on the June 29. Following that, they will race to Marstrand, on the Swedish west coast, arriving Saturday July 5, during the Swedish Match Cup.
Lizzie Green/ISAF News Editor
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