Volvo looks ahead to 2011

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The Independent Online

Before the Volvo round the world race has even reached cruising speed in the 37,000-miler which starts next Saturday, the organisation yesterday engaged first gear for the next race starting in 2011.

In a move designed to bring confidence and certainty at a time of worldwide economic turmoil, race chief executive Knut Frostad said: "To be able to grow our event and continue to attract the very best sailors in the world we need to ensure continuity."

The chief executive of the Volvo group, Leif Johansson, said that the funding had been agreed and the decision was endorsed by their partner, Volvo Cars, now owned by Ford. Stephen Odell, president and ceo of Volvo Car Corporation said: "I am very pleased to announce already at this stage our commitment to enable another round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race sailing event."

Frostad expects the next race to start anything between August and October 2011 in a venue yet to be decided. It will continue to feature ocean legs with inshore racing and will be raced in the Volvo Open 70 design used for the current and last race.

Listen to Stuart Alexander speak with race chief executive Knut Frostad

He said that attempts would be made to enable boats to do more than one race and that investigations were continuing into staging interim events, but these should have real integrity, not just be marketing exercises.

He said that no talks had taken place with those trying to put the America's Cup back on track.

It is expected that a further major announcement on the America's Cup will be made in the next 10 days following the face-to-face meeting in San Francisco last Saturday between the Swiss holder, Ernesto Bertarelli, and the boss of the BMW Oracle team, Larry Ellison, at legal loggerheads in the New York courts. Other talks have been held with Britain's Sir Keith Mills, Prada boss Patrizio Bertelli of Italy and Ignacio Sanchez Galan of Spain.

Britain's team sailing director Mike Sanderson told this paper last week that he expected multi-challenger America's Cup sailing to resume next year and that a Cup could be staged in 2010.

Yesterday, as six of the eight Volvo race boats took guests round the inshore course, the other two, the British-designed and built Team Russia and the Irish-owned, Dutch-backed Team Delta Lloyd, were out of the water and up on their cradles repairing damage caused when Team Russia first hit the committee boat and then holed Delta Lloyd at the start of the second of two inshore races.

The chairman of the international jury, Bryan Willis, is due to announce tonight whether he will accede to a request from the Ericsson team for a reopening of the hearing into the legality of the keel fin on Ericsson 3.

Currently the boat does not have a valid class certificate and the jury has imposed what amounts to a 25 per cent. points penalty on the boat, sailed by a mixed Nordic crew made up of younger sailors, but with a leavening of veterans.

Volvo inshore race 1 (Alicante): 1, Telefonica Blue (B Bekking, ESP); 2, Telefonica Black (P Campos, ESP); 3, Green Dragon (I Walker, IRL); 4, Ericsson 4 (T Grael, SWE); 5, Ericsson 3 (A Lewander, SWE); 6, Puma (K Read, USA); 7, Team Russia (A Hanakamp, RUS); 8, Team Delta Lloyd (G O'Rourke, IRL).

Volvo inshore race 2: 1, Telefonica Blue; 2, Puma; 3, Telefonica Black; 4, Ericsson 4; 5, Ericsson 3; 6, Green Dragon; 7, Delta Lloyd; 7, Team Russia, Points: 1, Telefonica Blue, 4; 2, Telefonica Black, 3.5; 3, Puma, 3; 4, Ericsson 4, 2.5; 5, Green Dragon, 2; 6, Delta Lloyd, 1; 7=, Ericsson 3 (after 1 point penalty), Team Russia, 0.5.

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