SOUTH coast yachtsman Jules Salter has been snapped up by Dutch Volvo Ocean Race team AkzoNobel ahead of the start of the 46,000-mile epic.
Salter, 48, from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, was hand-picked by skipper Simeon Tienpont for his nine-strong crew as navigator.
Salter is a strong addition to the debut team - he has competed three times in the Volvo Ocean Race and won the 2008-09 edition as part of the Swedish Ericsson Racing crew.
“It’s a privilege to get the chance to race around the world – especially with a campaign as strong as the one Simeon has put together with AkzoNobel," said Salter, who has enjoyed a five-year hiatus from the round the world race, contested in identical 65ft yachts.
“The one design aspect is also very appealing. In the Volvo Ocean Races I have done before, there were lots of times when the boats were all going very similar speeds, but this time you know the speed differences are precisely down to you and the way you are sailing the boat.
“Like most of the crew, I grew up on one-design racing. But when you throw in the high speeds and long distances of the Volvo Ocean Race, that makes the racing very interesting and exciting.”
Salter's crewmates include three other past Volvo Ocean Race winners: Roberto Bermudez de Castro from Spain, Joca Signorini from Brazil and Brad Jackson from New Zealand.
Also selected are Dutch Olympic silver medalist Annemieke Bes, Australian Luke Molloy, Danish match racing skipper Nicolai Sehested and up-and-coming young New Zealand sailor Brad Farrand.
Work is underway at the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard facility in Lisbon, Portugal, to fit out and paint AkzoNobel’s brand new Volvo Ocean 65 yacht.
The boat is scheduled to sail for the first time in early June, with an official christening ceremony planned to take place at the team’s base in The Hague, the Netherlands, soon after.
The AkzoNobel crew will then begin four months of intense on the water training in the lead up to the start of the eight-month race in Alicante, Spain.
Several transatlantic crossings are planned, as well as participation in the iconic Fastnet Race from Cowes in August.
The Volvo Ocean Race starts on October 22 and will take around nine months to complete.