It has been another busy and productive couple of weeks over here in Lisbon. Our crew numbers have now grown to 11 with the announcement that three more sailors will be joining me onboard Turn the Tide on Plastic for the Volvo Ocean Race.

Let’s hear it for the girls first. We welcomed Irish Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy and New Zealand’s Bianca Cook last week. Both are under 30, ambitious high achievers and will strengthen the existing team.

Leg Zero, on board Turn the Tide on Plastic before the Prologue. Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race. 14 September, 2017
Credit: Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race
Leg Zero, training on board Turn the Tide on Plastic. Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race. 07 September, 2017
Credit: Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race

Annalise won silver in the Laser Radial class at Rio 2016 and was recently named Irish Times/Sport Ireland’s Sportswoman of the Year. Her strength and racing skills are obvious but the switch from inshore to offshore racing has been a steep learning curve for her. Bianca has lots of big boat experience having clocked up 70,000 offshore miles in the last few years, so she is really comfortable with that aspect of the training. They are both enjoying every day out on the boat and it is great to see them developing so quickly. As the race starts next month, every minute of training we can squeeze in is going to be of benefit.

Today, we announced that Martin Strömberg will be joining as Watch Captain. Martin, who hails from Sweden, is somewhat of a Volvo Ocean Race veteran having previously raced with Ericsson 3 in 2008/9, Groupama in 2011/12, and Dongfeng in the last edition. As well as great sailing skills and a wealth of experience, he also brings the Swedish knack of being a good mediator and I am sure his calm demeanour will be invaluable when the crew are under pressure.

Leg Zero, training on Turn the Tide on Plastic with Tony Rey. Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey. 11 September, 2017
Credit: Jeremie Lecaudey/VolvoOceanRace

My multinational squad is really coming together as we make our final preparations in Lisbon, Portugal. All the other boats will also be joining us from 18 September for their final maintenance checks ahead of a prologue race from Lisbon to Alicante.

The race begins from Alicante, Spain on 22 October and will visit a further 11 Host Cities around the world – stopping at Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg – before a big finish in The Hague in summer 2018.

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Main image credit: Ugo Fonolla/VolvoOceanRace

Dee Caffari

British yachtswoman Dee Caffari is the first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world three times. In 2006 Dee became the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, around the world against the prevailing winds and currents and was awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievement.

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