Paul Elvstrom, four times Olympic gold medalist, backs the Danish Volvo Ocean Race entry, 'Nokia'...
Copenhagen, May 10, 1999
It was one of the most well-known sailors of this century who climbed onboard the Danish V.O. 60, poured champagne over the stem and named the boat ‘Nokia’. The great Dane Paul Elvstrom won an Olympic gold medal on four occasions and has also been a World Champion 13 times.
“I look forward to seeing your boathandling, ” Elvstrom said to the crew, adding some timely advice, “it is not enough to copy the other boats, you have to do better”.
The day before the naming ceremony, Paul Elvstrom himself took the wheel of Nokia on a training sail, where he experienced the feel of big boat racing, while the crew trimmed under his command.
“In Denmark we have the will, the ability and the talent to go and race round the world,” he said. “We just have to look for team sailors. And remember: dinghy-racing is always the best training for new talents.”
The ‘Nokia’ project is the largest in Danish yacht-race history. With a substantial investment from NOKIA, the team has been able to buy the former “Swedish Match”, which finished third in the last (Whitbread) Round the World Race. For the next three years, the boat will be the training vessel for the Danish team in preparation for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001.
Behind the project are four experienced Danish yachtsmen: Lars Coling, Morten Veje, Morten Lorenzen and Christian Jensen. They are all familiar with big boat racing and for the last three years, they have been running a 65′ Danish racing boat (also called ‘Nokia’), in which they have won races such as the Round Gotland, and the Around Anholt.
“The V.O.60 is a completely different sailing machine than the old ‘Nokia’ says joint skipper, Lars Coling. “First of all, we have to find the right balance between our current skills and the V.O.60 abilities. During the racing season we will test a number of new sailors in order to optimize our team. The very sophisticated water ballast system and the rig take intensive practice to master, but we have plenty of good opportunities to test our strength against other V.O.60s from Germany, Sweden, Norway, Holland and Belgium in races such as the Round Gotland” he added.
To optimise training, the four joint skippers have purchased the former “Heineken” V.O. 60. Her rig is almost identical to that of ‘Nokia’, which makes two-boat sail-testing possible, however this second V.O. 60 is still looking for a sponsor.