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60-Foot Long Volvo Ocean Race Yachts 'Cruise' the Skies

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- A giant Russian cargo plane, dubbed 'the ugly duckling of the skies', early today successfully delivered two sleek, but hardly slim-line Volvo Ocean Race yachts weighing a total 27,000 kilos after a unique 22-hour flight between Auckland, New Zealand and Miami, USA.

The near identical yachts, each 60-foot long, were carefully stowed into the cavernous Russian Antonov freight plane, the largest in the world, for its unusual flight. The yachts will be used for pre-race training in Miami by the Norwegian team 'djuice dragons' competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, viewed as the world's premiere yachting event. One will actually sail in the race that gets underway in England in September this year.

Flying the yachts half way round the world means 'djuice dragons', one of the syndicates participating in the event once called The Whitbread, won't have to use training boats to prepare for the race. Says skipper Knut Frostad: ``Having the boats on the water seven months ahead of the start is key in the build up. Despite the risk of putting both our boats into one 'hold' thousands of feet above their natural element, we know we'll benefit from early race tuning.'

The Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race, formerly known as 'The Whitbread', is the world's premier offshore, ocean race. It will start at Southampton, UK on September 23rd 2001, and cover 32,700 nautical miles, with nine stopovers, and finishes in Kiel, Germany in June 2002. The race is jointly sponsored by Volvo Car Corporation, which is owned by Ford Motor Company, and AB Volvo, which owns Volvo Trucks, Volvo Buses, Volvo Penta, Volvo Construction Equipment and Volvo Aero. Volvo Car Corporation sells over 422,000 automobiles a year in 100 markets around the world.

For information on the Volvo Ocean Race, visit: www.VolvoOceanRace.org .

SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
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