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post #6 of Old 08-04-2005 Thread Starter
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community weblog - [ Cayard to skipper Disney boat in Volvo Ocean Race ]
Cayard to skipper Disney boat in Volvo Ocean Race
- Editor H2ONotes [ 8/2/2005 - 19:37 ] #
Paul Cayard, one of America''s most decorated sailors, has agreed to skipper the "Black Pearl," the Walt Disney Co.-backed syndicate, in the Volvo Ocean Race, set to begin in November.

The announcement is scheduled for tomorrow.

The 46-year-old San Francisco native has sailed in five America''s Cup campaigns and is a seven-time sailing world champion. He was selected Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year in 1998 and was elected to the Sailing World Hall of Fame in 2002.

Cayard is no stranger to the 32,000-mile global race. In 1998, he was the first American skipper to win the global circumnavigation, then known as the Whitbread, on "EF Language."

"I think Cayard is a good choice," said Gary Jobson, author and sailing commentator for NBC and ESPN. "He won in 1997-98, and that invaluble. He''s a strong organizer. I hope this means we''re going to have a majority U.S. crew."

The Volvo Ocean Race will start in Spain and make stops in South Africa, Australia and Brazil before spending nearly three weeks in April in Baltimore and Annapolis, the only North American ports of call. The race will end in mid-June in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Disney will use the Black Pearl as a major promotion for the sequel to the movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean."

The syndicate has deep pockets, with Disney expected to spend about $17 million on the campaign. But Cayard faces an uphill battle to get to the starting line in November.

The other six syndicates are much further along, having launched their boats and settled on crews.

Cayard''s abilities and star power are expected to help compensate for the late start. But no one has raced the 70-foot yachts under the demanding conditions of an around-the-world regatta.

"Late starts are never helpful in any sport," said Jobson. "They''re going to have to do a lot of catcing up.

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