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19 June 2004, 11:26 am
Leg 1 Starts In Göta Älv
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The Start© Event Media

Volvo Baltic Race
Gota Alv, Gotherburg

Sony Ericsson took an early lead and had a 500 meters lead at 11.37 am. Elanders is second followed by JMS, Avant and AV-Teknik. The last boat is 1,5 nautical miles behind Sony Ericsson.
The principal race officer for today's 40 nautical mile coastal race, and also the start of Sunday's offshore race - from Gothenburg to Copenhagen - is Sweden's Annika Ekman. Ekman, from the Royal Gothenburg Yacht Club, will also be the principal race officer in Athens in August.

In this year's race, there are some young faces for whom this event will be the biggest sailing challenge of their sailing career so far.

Ocean racing is a highly competitive sport and nowadays it is almost impossible for youngsters to get enough offshore experience to be taken seriously amongst a fully professional crew. The Volvo Baltic Race aims to actively encourage younger crews to take part and give them a taste of racing in a grand prix event. Rules this time make it mandatory for each team to take at least one crewmember under 23.

During last year's event, two youth teams made their debut in the top tier and learned from the professionals at the top end of the sport, happily joining in what could only be described as a baptism of fire. This time, Petter MORLAND PEDERSEN (20) who is sailing with his brother Bjorn (23) on JMS Next Generation (Silk Cut 97-98) from Norway, says his first goal is to learn a lot. He is aware of the raw power of the V.O. 60s and what it takes to sail them safely. They are both looking forward to sailing the boat as fast as they can and having fun at the same time.

Scott BEAVIS from New Zealand was responsible for introducing fellow Kiwi, Trewren JOINES (23), to Matthew HUMPHRIES, skipper of Elanders (News Corp 2001-02). This is his first professional sailing job - he was working as a sailmaker in Auckland before. He's bowman onboard Elanders for the whole summer and is looking forward to gaining lots of big boat experience at the highest level.

Round-the-world race veterans Mikael LUNDH and Wouter VERBRAAK have three young guns in their crew on Avant (Swedish Match 97-98), the youngest of whom is 21.

Scoring: Half points will be awarded for the first inshore/coast races - the winner scoring 2.5 points, with full points for the offshore legs and one and a half points for the Gant Round Gotland Race towards the end of the series. For the final windward/leeward races, to be held on the last day, full points will be awarded to the overall winner of this mini-series (3 races) and no discards will be allowed.
Lizzie Green, Henning Johannesson - Event Media
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