Sailing: Australia in ocean race first

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The Independent Online

Australia has beaten both the United States and Europe to the punch by becoming the first country to announce an entry in the revamped 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race. Grant Wharington's insatiable appetite for ocean racing has led him to head a syndicate named Premier Challenge whilst building the latest of his yachts, a 98-foot super-maxi named Wild Thing.

Wharington, who raced round Cape Horn on the Norwegian yacht Djuice Dragons on the fourth leg of the last race, will skipper Wild Thing and is joined by Barney Walker, who was on the Australian yacht NewsCorp in 2001-2002. Businessman Matt Allen will be responsible for raising additional finance through sponsorship.