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Italy’s Tauranga confirms entry in Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion

The Swan 55’ Sparkman and Stevens designed Tauranga took part in the very first edition of the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74, completing the 27,000 nautical mile course in 185 days and finishing in 10th place overall.

Tauranga and the other vintage yachts mak ing their way to Alicante from all over the world represent a bygone era of ocean racing and their design and construction contrast starkly with the high tech Volvo Open 70s used in the modern day Volvo Ocean Race.

During the two-day regatta in Alicante Tauranga will line up against yachts from the first 10 round the world races including the late Sir Peter Blake’s 1989-90 race winner, Steinlager 2 and 1973-74 Whitbread Race competitors, Great Britain II, Copernicus and Adventure/Dasher.

As a keen sailor, Tauranga’s current owner Michele Bruno is looking forward to his yacht being a part of the Legends Regatta and hopes to have Tauranga’s original race skipper Erik Pascoli as part of his crew.

“Owning this boat is like being the custodian of a piece of history. In the process of successfully completing the first Whitbread Round the World Race, Tauranga became the first ever Italian yacht to round Cape Horn in a race, a milestone made more unique in those days by the fact that her crew included a woman, Zara Pascoli.

“Tauranga comes from a different epoch, a different world, and part of that world was the ability to dream and to pursue dreams. Other than the amazing experience and the fun we hope to have, this is the kind of spirit we hope to contribute to Alicante. Being there will probably be a dream come true for one of our crew members, Cristian Tarasco. Cristian is a paraplegic sailor competing internationally in the 2.4 metre class and currently ranking second in the Italian International Association for Disabled Sailing. Cristian is a great guy and I’m very proud of having him on board.”

Aside from the opportunity for these spectacular ocean-going yachts to compete against each other once more, the Legends Regatta will also offer previous Whitbread Race competitors the chance to get together, renew old friendships and reminisce about their round the world race exploits.

Mexico’s Ramon Carlin is particularly looking forward to being reunited with his 1973-74 race-winning crew from Sayula II – many of whom have not seen each other since Prince Philip presented them with the winner’s trophy in London in the spring of 1974.

Now in his eighties, Mr Carlin is also hoping to meet with Cornelis van Rietschoten, the owner and skipper of two Whitbread Race winning yachts Flyer (1977) and Flyer 2 (1981). Rietschoten himself is planning his own Alicante reunion with many of the former Flyer crew.

The Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion will take place in Alicante, Spain from November 1-5, 2011, between the first In-Port Race and the Leg 1 start.

Entries in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta and Reunion
1. Copernicus 1973-74 (45’ sloop: the smallest boat ever to race)
2. Great Britain II/Whitbread Heritage (Maxi ketch - took part in the first five races)
3. Rothmans 1989-90 (Maxi sloop)
4. Berge Viking 1981-82 (Swan 57)
5. Charles Jourdan 1989-90 (Maxi sloop)
6. Steinlager 2 1989-90 (Maxi Ketch)
7. Gauloises III 1981-82 (62’ Sloop) sailed by the French crew of Grand Louis/Japy-Hermes and Kriter IX
8. Traité de Rome 1977-78 and 1981-82 (51’ aluminium sloop)
9. Adventure/Dasher 1973-74 and 1977-78 (Nicholson 55’)
10. Tauranga 1973-74 (Swan 55’ yawl)

Regatta Ambassadors
Lady Pippa Blake
Sir Chay Blyth CBE, BEM
Magnus Olsson
Skip Novak
Tracy Edwards MBE

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, the 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 gal a 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 38 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