Thursday, 17 February 2011
by Sophie Luther
Refitted and ready to go, the immaculate Charles Jourdan is heading to Alicante this November to race against others in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends, the first official regatta and reunion.
“We are very excited about coming to Alicante,” says Peter Olsson, the boat captain and owner’s representative. “We have had her refitted, starting with replacing the sails, and she will be in first-class condition when we arrive Alicante. We plan to race in her original Charles Jourdan livery,” he adds.
Head to head with Charles Jourdan will be the maxi Rothmans, who also raced against her in the The Whitbread 1989-90. Like Charles Jourdan, Rothmans is also in immaculate condition. Joining them are the classic Swan 57 Berge Viking from 1981-82, the much-loved Copernicus from 1973 and Great Britain II, who in 1973-74 was the fast yacht around the world. Now known as Whitbread Heritage, she raced in the first five races under four different names.
Charles Jourdan was the sixth maxi yacht to finish the 1989-90 Whitbread, from a fleet of 23 starters, but she came close to not finishing at all after a collision with a whale on leg three.
“I was steering when I saw it dive,” remembers her French skipper Alain Gabbay, who will be reunited with the boat later this year. “The next time I saw it was when it came up, 15 metres ahead of me. We were sailing at 13 knots, so all I could do was turn the wheel. Our nose got past the whale, but not our side.”
Although the whale escaped unscathed, the collision punched a hole of 10 feet long and three feet wide in the hull of the boat. “You could see the sea through our hull,” Gabbay recalls. He told his crew to prepare to abandon ship. “It was a very big crash and I thought it was possible we might sink. I thought it best for everybody to be ready to leave the boat, but once the excitement passed, I went below deck a second time to inspect the damage. At that point I decided we could keep the boat floating.”
This escapade resulted in a number of interesting headlines in the world’s press including: “Enough to Make Him Blubber” and “Whitbread Skipper Has His Own Personal Jonah”.
After the completion of her circumnavigation, the boat was bought by two-time Whitbread competitor, Finland’s Ludde Ingvall. She was refitted and became very competitive, winning several high profile races including the Fastnet Race, The Round Gotland Race and Sydney to Hobart Race. She was bought by a Swedish family in 2000, refitted again, and has since then won several Nordic ocean races under the name Royal Blue.
The Volvo Ocean Race Legends in November this year will celebrate the long and varied history of the world’s premier ocean race and includes racing and social events in for all those who have competed or been involved in the event since its inauguration in 1973. It promises to be an occasion not to be missed, with many former sailors travelling from all over the world to take part.
The official Notice of Race is now available for download together with full information on how to take part and a preliminary schedule of events from: http://www.volvooceanrace.com/news/news-legends/
About Charles Jourdan
• Charles Jourdan finished 6th in The Whitbread Round the World Race 1989-90 the fifth running of the event
• It was won by Steinlager 2/Peter Blake
• Charles Jourdan’s elapsed time was 126.96.36.199
• Her skipper was Frenchman Alain Gabbay, sailing in his third round the world race
• 23 yachts started the 1989-90 race, which began in Southampton, England on 2 September 1989
• Charles Jourdan famously collided with a whale on leg three, which seriously compromised the hull. They crew was able to continue.
• She is today 76’ long (in the race 70’) and originally sailed with a crew of 10-11
• She is a sloop, designed by Guy Ribadeau-Dumas
Entries in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion
• Great Britain II/Whitbread Heritage (Maxi) took part in the first five races
• Copernicus 1973-74 (45’: the smallest boat ever to race)
• Rothmans 1989-90 (Maxi)
• Berge Viking 1981-82 (Swan 57)
• Charles Jourdan 1989-90 (Maxi)
About the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion
• The first ever official reunion of all who have sailed in the world’s premier ocean race since the inaugural race in 1973-74
• To be held in Alicante, Spain from 1-5 November 2011, week between Alicante In-Port Race and the Start of Leg One of the Volvo Ocean Race
• A full racing schedule over two days
• Will conclude with a departure ceremony and parade of sail to escort the Volvo Ocean Race fleet to the start line for Leg One
• A rich shoreside programme includes a regatta prizegiving, a gala dinner and a host of other social events
• Chat shows and forums after racing
• Legends entries open for public viewing
• 148 boats have crossed the start line in the 37-year history of The Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race
• 1974 crew competed in the first 10 events
• The first 31,250 nautical-mile race first took place 37 years ago (as the Whitbread Round the World Race 1973-74), testing the crews against some of the most ferocious elements that man can encounter
• The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 will be the 11th edition of the event
Lady Pippa Blake
Sir Chay Blyth CBE, BEM
Download the Notice of Race and Entry Form here
Check out the new issue of Life at the Extreme here
Volvo Ocean Race