– Kiwi Stu returns to boost Team Alvimedica
– Southern Ocean know-how will assist young crew
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, March 9 – New Zealander Stu Bannatyne, one of the Volvo Ocean Race’s most experienced and toughest competitors, is joining Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) for Leg 5, the toughest stage of the event.
Bannatyne is the ideal addition to the young crew for the treacherous Southern Ocean leg, with six races under his belt including three victories.
He takes over from bowman/trimmer Seb Marsset (FRA), who will help out with the shore crew for the leg and is scheduled to return for the following stage to Newport, Rhode Island.
Team Alvimedica have already made an impressive start to their debut Volvo Ocean Race campaign, earning a podium place with third in Leg 3 and fourth in the next stage from Sanya to Auckland.
However, skipper Enright appreciates that they will need all the know-how they can muster for the 6,776-nautical mile journey from New Zealand to Itajaí, southern Brazil, starting on Sunday, March 15.
It will take them through the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn. Memories are still fresh from the last edition in 2011-12 when the fleet was ravaged by breakages with mountainous 15-metre waves causing havoc on the boats.
“Stu brings incredible experience to us for the tough Southern Ocean leg ahead,” said Enright.
The leg that we are about to embark on is like nothing we have seen in this race so far.
“With most of our crew never having sailed in the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn, we will benefit from Stu’s knowledge and driving skills on this challenging leg.”
Enright added: “Stu sailed a trans-Atlantic training leg with us last summer and provided some invaluable insights and has continued to be a sounding board for us since the race started.”
Bannatyne, 43, is relishing the challenge of another Southern Ocean crossing. “The next leg with its huge waves and sustained winds of sometimes over 40 knots is the most demanding of the race.
“Knowing when to throttle back may be as important as pushing the limits. I hope I can help Charlie and the guys in their first Southern Ocean passage.”
The leg, the fifth of nine, begins at 1400 NZ time/0200 CET on Sunday. In all, the boats will cover 38,739nm, visiting 11 ports and every continent before the conclusion of the race in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27.
Team Alvimedica race crew for Leg 5: Stu Bannatyne, 43, (NZL); Alberto Bolzan, 32, (ITA); Nick Dana, 28, (USA); Charlie Enright, 30, (USA); Ryan Houston, 32, (NZL); Will Oxley, 49, (AUS); Dave Swete, 30, (NZL); Mark Towill, 26, (USA); and Onboard Reporter Amory Ross, 30, (USA).