Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kimo on VOR

PUMA general manager Kimo Worthington anticipates tough competition for overall race honours from the Ericsson Racing Team, but he expects another blast from the past to steal a few of the headlines along the way.

“After seeing that ABN AMRO ONE boat in the last race I would think Delta Lloyd is more than capable, first generation boat or whatever, of scoring some good points in this race,” he said.
Ger O’Rourke has already admitted his team is underdog, considering it has just eight shore crew, a three-year-old boat and an entry that was not confirmed until last week.

But Worthington, the general manager of Pirates of the Caribbean in 2005-06, thinks it can win at least a leg. He added: “In boat terms, there is not a lot wrong. There have been developments in a lot of areas since the last race, but not huge changes.

“When I was at Pirates, there was a bigger gap in terms of performance between us and ABN AMRO ONE than there is now between that boat and the current fleet.

“Given the spread of conditions on this race track, I think every boat has a chance of winning a leg or picking up some good points.”

Cumulatively, though, Worthington thinks the international crew on Ericsson 4 will be the tough out of the gate.

He said: “They have huge resources, a good backer and the benefits of two-boat testing. I think you’d have to say, at this point before anyone has raced anyone, that they are favourites.
The Swedish syndicate, which also had an entrant in the last race, confirmed its participation within days of the 2005-06 finish and has since had its pick of available talent for its two boats.
Juan Kouyoumdjian, who designed ABN AMRO ONE, drew the lines and the boats have had more time on the water, while their shore crew of 65 is the biggest in the yard. It could, according to Worthington, pay off.

“I’m not writing anyone off, though, because this could be a close race.”
- Photo Sally Collison / PUMA Ocean Racing - http://www.volvooceanrace.org