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Monday 24 July 2017

Butterworth heads line-up of superstars eyeing Volvo world race

WM Nixon

There's a useful head of steam building for the Volvo world race next year, with superstars emerging from February's America's Cup and putting down markers.

Kiwi Brad Butterworth, the main man in the defeated Alinghi campaign, has said that he does not plan to exit world sailing on such a downer, and is available for any worthwhile Volvo campaign.

As he has a successful track record in the round-the-world event, he's probably well on the way to being signed up.

Meanwhile, the Emirates New Zealand combo, defeated by the Alinghi team in 2007, are swinging into a high-powered link-up with the Spanish sports shoe manufacturers Camper, and at least one new Open 70 to the up-dated Volvo rule will result.

Shoemakers seem to find the Volvo fits their needs. One of the star turns in the last race, the Ken Read-skippered Puma, is reverting to her alternative name of Il Mostro for the classic biennial Newport-Bermuda Race in June, and will be aiming to knock off the 618-mile course in less than two days.

This should reinforce interest in America, where Miami will be the Volvo stopover before they cross the Atlantic to Lisbon on their way to Lorient and the finish in Galway.

Best news on the line-up of ports finalised recently by Knut Frostad and his organising team is that Auckland is back in the frame. They'll be racing there from China.

In Lorient on France's Biscay coast, it's all systems go for Franck Cammas and his galactic Groupama team after their new world record. Ace boat-builder Killian Bushe is working away to build on the success he achieved with the Ericsson boats last time round, and the smart money finds an early home here.

There's talk of one or two Volvo 70s being on the prowl for involvement in the Round Ireland Race from Wicklow on June 20. Organiser Dennis Noonan already has seven entries in the can, including four from Britain and two from France, and over 50 positive enquiries.

It's the 30th anniversary of a biennial event which every Irish sailor hopes to race at least once. Though the Wicklow men are now winging it without any sponsorship, the 2010 race is taking shape in encouraging style.

UCD have built on their success in the Scottish open college championship by winning the annual colours race against Trinity.

However, last weekend's inter-varsity Match Racing Nationals in the ISA's fleet of J/80s at Howth saw DIT come to the fore, with Marty O'Leary as helm.

The light winds were a frustration and it came down to a close race between O'Leary and UCD, helmed by Aidan McLaverty, with the Bolton Street boy squeezing home.

Irish Independent

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