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Months of speculation among international sailing fans ended today when it was announced that team AkzoNobel will race the only new Volvo Ocean 65 yacht being built for the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Skipper Simeon Tienpont made the announcement at the HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show, having recently visited the Persico Marine facility in Bergamo, Italy, where the new boat is nearing completion.
Team AkzoNobel announced its participation in the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race in July last year as part of a strategic partnership to raise global awareness for the company’s brands and expertise and create opportunities to engage in projects with local communities.
“Every new boat is exciting, but this one is something special,” said Tienpont. “It doesn’t seem very long since I started planning out this campaign on my kitchen table at home, so it’s a great feeling to now see our boat coming to fruition.”
The new team AkzoNobel VO65 is due to leave Persico in May, when it will be transported by road to the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard in Lisbon, Portugal. The yacht will then go through final commissioning before being formally handed over to team AkzoNobel.
It will be identical in specification to the existing fleet of seven Volvo Ocean 65s built for the last Volvo Ocean Race, which are currently being overhauled in Lisbon by Volvo Ocean Race technicians.
“Our goal is to be the best prepared team on the start line in Alicante,” continued Tienpont. “So our first choice was always to have a new boat built. If you have that option, it’s a no-brainer decision to make when you are racing around the world.”
Added Conrad Keijzer, AkzoNobel’s Executive Committee member responsible for Performance Coatings: “We are all excited about this announcement and can’t wait to see our new boat in the water. This is a key milestone in our campaign to win the Volvo Ocean Race.”
“Our participation in the race reflects many of our company’s activities – from the salt we produce that is used in the production of the carbon used throughout the boat, to our yacht and marine coatings that are well-known around the world. This will also offer opportunities for product innovation and to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability.”
Tienpont is expected to announce his sailing crew and shore team during the next few weeks, while a transatlantic test run to New York is planned for June. This will be followed by a return passage to Cowes, England, in August, when team AkzoNobel will line up for the first time against the other Volvo Ocean Race teams for the 605-mile Rolex Fastnet Race.
Due to start in Alicante this October, the Volvo Ocean Race will visit 12 host ports around the world, finishing at The Hague, the Netherlands, in late June 2018.
For more information on team AkzoNobel: