Team Russia announce new Volvo crew members

Team Russian graphics for 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race

At a press conference held at Moscow International Boat Show, skipper Andreas Hanakamp and syndicate president Oleg Zherebstov announced five key crew members that will join Team Russia to sail in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. In a line up that unites experienced Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race veterans with Olympic and leading international sailors, Team Russia’s crew now comprises:

Two former Volvo veterans Guillermo Altadill and Stig Westergaard named as watch captains. Guillermo sailed on Ericsson during the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06 and Assa Abloy in 2001-02. He skippered Estrella Damm in the recent Barcelona World Race and has over 300,000 miles of round the world racing under his belt.

Experienced Volvo Ocean Race and America’s cup sailor Stig Westergaard combines the role of watch captain with performance manager. He is a triple world champion in the Finn and Soling class and is a leading match racing coach, having worked with America’s cup and Olympic sailors.

Wouter Verbraak is the team navigator. Wouter has competed in the Volvo Ocean Race onboard djuice dragons in 2001-02. He sailed it the America’s cup, Tour de France a la Voile, Admiral’s cup, Sydney to Hobart, Volvo Baltic Race and advised sailors on strategy and weather in the Volvo Ocean Race, the Vendee Globe, Route du Rhum and the Olympics.
Team Russia 2008 crewmen - Left to right: Leonid Dubeykovskiy (Team media crew, Michael Woods (Team CEO), Andreas Hanakamp (skipper), Rodion Luka (helmsman),Oleg Zherebtsov (team principle),Sergey Bogdanov(media crew), Liz Rushall (Team communications), Yuri Firsov (shortlisted Russian crew), Rustam Ismailov (Russian press officer) - Photo Sergey Bogdanov
Finally, Vladimir ‘Kuli’ Kulinichenko who sailed on the first Soviet Whitbread boat Fasizi in 1989-90 and later Odessa and Hetman Sahaidachny, joins the team as sail maker.

Kuli has an engineering background and world-class sailing and sail making experience.

He has been involved in projects ranging from Whitbread campaigns to schooners, tall ships and IMS racing projects, over the span of 30 years and over 100,000 ocean miles.

Andreas Hanakamp comments:

'We have assembled a great team of people here with both experience and a true sense of adventure. There are still a few more slots to fill and we are thankful to the Russian Sailing Federation for recommending a list of sailors they believe have the potential to participate in the team.

An additional 50 sailors from Russia also applied to sail on the boat. All sailors suggested from the Federation were invited plus those selected from their applications to take part in trials on our Volvo Ocean 60 yacht Venom. Five Russian sailors joined us last week sailing from Cadiz to Mallorca and Uri Firsov, and experienced Olympic class and offshore sailor, made it through to the next round of trials, taking place on the new Volvo Open 70 once it has been commissioned.

We are in touch with a few other experienced Russian sailors whom we plan to meet with once the new boat is in the water and sailing,' concludes Hanakamp.

Two Russian media team members were also announced today, Leonid Dubeykovskiy and Sergey Bogdanov, who will fill the media berth on some legs.

New Boat Graphics Unveiled

Zherebstov also took the opportunity to unveil Team Russia’s dynamic graphics ahead of the boat leaving Green Marine’s yard in Lymington (UK) next month. The distinctive boat identity, using influences from Russian architecture, will provide a very important vehicle to illustrate to its supporters that Team Russia really intends to put its name on the world map.

About Team Russia (www.teamrussia.org)

The first Russian entry in the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race came about in part due to a chance meeting between Oleg Zherebstov, one of Russia’s leading retail magnates, and former Olympic sailor and professional skipper, Andreas Hanakamp, during a sailing holiday in Croatia.

Having worked tirelessly to build up his chain of retail hypermarkets in Russia, and handing over day-today management concerns to a new CEO, Zherebstov had the time to try new adventures. Gripped by the complex challenges of ocean racing, Zherebstov quickly came to realise he not only wanted to support a Volvo Ocean Race project, but be part of the crew onboard for the race.

Zherebstov has set about surrounding himself with a talented team, to start with a clean sheet of paper, to put the best possible boat and sailors together in just one year.