The Volvo Ocean Race added a marquee name yesterday with the announcement that Olympian and America's Cup veteran Paul Cayard will skipper the U.S. entry Black Pearl. As has been rumored for months, Cayard will steer the Disney-sponsored boat when the fleet of seven boats leaves Spain in November for the quadrennial 'round-the-world event.
The San Francisco sailor was the first American to win the 30,000-mile race when he skippered EF Language to victory in 1998 in what was then the Whitbread 'Round-the-World Race. Cayard, 46, was the U.S. entry in sailing's Star Class in the Athens Olympics last year and has five America's Cup campaigns under his belt.
In a phone interview from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, where he was competing in a big-boat regatta, Cayard said he's assembled a crew of 10 from seven nations and expects to start training around Sept. 1, as soon as boat construction is completed in England. Nine of the crew have been around the world in the Volvo or Whitbread before, he said, and four were on winning boats.
Disney's sponsorship was late arriving, and Cayard's team will be one of the last to begin preparations. The team with the most experience is Movistar, a Spanish entry that began sailing last February and completed a trial run from Australia to England via Cape Horn.