Ahead of the official opening of the Race Village in Alicante this evening, the Volvo Ocean Race Academy today welcomed the 32 Spanish junior sailors taking part in the Optimist Team Racing Regatta.
Selected back in June to represent their local sailing club at the three-day regatta, the eight, four-person squads today discovered which Volvo Ocean Race team they would sail for in the competition.
Waiting eagerly in the warm Alicante sunshine the children cheered loudly as in turn each Volvo Ocean Race sailor announced which sailing club would represent their team.
Welcoming the young sailors to the Alicante Race Village, Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad recalled his own experiences as an Optimist sailor.
“Unlike the modern plastic boats you are racing, my boat was made of wood. It was very heavy and very slow. I hope you enjoy your time with us at the Volvo Ocean Race and good luck in the team racing.”
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing CEO Jamie Boag told the assembled sailors:
“The Abu Dhabi crew is full of great sailors and the one thing they all have in common is that they all started their sailing careers in small dinghies like the ones you are sailing.
“Good luck in your regatta, sail fast and to whoever is selected to sail for Abu Dhabi – make sure you win!”
Unlike any other form of sailing competition, in team racing, it is the overall finishing position of the team, rather than the individual sailors that counts.
The Academy sailors will receive on the water and classroom coaching team racing experts, before two days of elimination rounds culminating in a grand final match between the top two teams to decide the overall winner.
Francisco Vidal, coordinator for the Academy Team Racing Regattas and Course Marshall summed up what the event was all about.
“We teach the kids how to race in team racing. It’s very interesting, because usually in the Optimist class they sail by themselves and for themselves. Now they have to learn to sail as a team, work as a team, protect the team and learn the meaning of the word sacrifice. It’s a great opportunity for them”
Carlos Balaguer (11) from the Real Club Náutico de Valencia commented:
“What I’m looking forward the most is seeing the Volvo Ocean Race boats and enjoy myself with my friends”.
Taking a more serious approach Gonzalo, (14), Club Náutico Alicante Costa Blanca, commented:
“I’m one of the older sailors here and I have come to learn”.
The youngest sailor in the fleet, eight-year-old Marta from Club Náutico de Santa Pola had this to say:
“I started sailing when I was one or two years old, I don’t remember which. I like being with my teammates and I hope I’ll enjoy the experience”.
Club Náutico Alicante Costa Blanca are representing Team Telefónica.
Real Club de Regatas de Alicante are representing CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand.
Real Club Náutico Gandía are representing Puerto di Alicante.
Real Club Náutico Calpe are representing Groupama sailing team.
Real Club Náutico Torrevieja are representing Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
Real Club Náutico Denia are representing Volvo Ocean Race.
Club Náutico de Santa Pola are representing PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG Propulsion.
Real Club Náutico de Valencia are representing Team Sanya.