Plans entry of two boats in Volvo race

ABN AMRO

Dutch corporation second in field for '05 competition

Sailing

March 12, 2004|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

A Netherlands-based corporation yesterday announced sponsorship of a two-boat team to compete in the next Volvo Ocean Race, which will begin in November 2005.

ABN AMRO said it will invest the equivalent of about $24 million.

"The Volvo Ocean Race, which visits almost all of the continents in which ABN AMRO has a presence, emerged as an ideal candidate" for marketing the company's various banking subsidiaries, said Tom de Swaan, member of the managing board.

The two ABN AMRO boats join Telefonica, sponsored by a Spanish telecommunications company, as the only entries to date. Volvo Ocean Race CEO Glenn Bourke said that with 20 months to go, he is satisfied with the corporate backing.

"We are up in terms of entries, compared with this period in the previous race," Bourke said.

Eight entries competed in the previous Volvo, which stopped in Baltimore in April 2002. The next round-the-world race will call in Baltimore and Annapolis - the only U.S. stop - in April 2006.

A Chesapeake region syndicate, dubbed Team Kan-do, is attempting to attract corporate backing to field an entry.

ABN AMRO plans to build two boats, using the experience gained from designing and building the first one to build a second boat. The plan is to race both. Skippers have not yet been selected.

The boat builder will be Ireland's Killian Bushe, known for building illbruck, the winning boat in the 2001-02 race.

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