Doyle Sails New Zealand is proud that a core member of its grand prix sales and support team, Stu Bannatyne, has just been announced as one of the members of the Dongfeng Race Team for the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR). This prestigious race is known as one of the sailing calendar’s most challenging and Bannatyne’s appointment is a credit to his reputation as one of the sailing world’s best respected and experienced offshore sailors. A seven-time veteran of the race, with three wins to date, this edition of the VOR will be Bannatyne’s eighth – an impressive record.
Image credit: Martin Keruzoré / Volvo Ocean Race
Bannatyne’s involvement in the 2017/2018 edition of the race ensures important insight into the demands of offshore yachting, experience which then directly translates back into the Doyle product range. His position on the Dongfeng team will complement his role at Doyle Sails NZ and, with Bannatyne spending more time in Europe working with the Dongfeng team, Doyle’s potential and existing international customers will be able to benefit directly from his added presence in Europe.
“I am looking forward to the challenge and am excited that Dongfeng have put together a programme which on paper should be well placed for a good chance of success in the race,” says Bannatyne. “The Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s leading grand prix crewed around the world race and my further participation will only increase the experience and advice I can offer to our customers in support of their own racing campaigns.”
In addition to Bannatyne, many of the Doyle Sails New Zealand team have had a historic involvement with the VOR including Richard Bouzaid’s win on Yamaha in the 1993/1994 edition, Justin Ferris with three Volvo race campaigns, and Mike Sanderson, CEO of Doyle Sails New Zealand, a two time winner of the race and recipient of the ISAF World Sailor of the Year Award following his first place in the 2005-2006 race as skipper of ABN Amro I, when he became the youngest skipper to ever win the VOR.
“The Volvo Ocean race is exciting and challenging in equal parts, driving new and exciting racing tactics and technologies, and we are glad to be continuing our long term relationship with the race through Stu’s involvement,” says Sanderson. “We are looking forward to watching Stu race in the 2017/2018 edition and are proud to have such a strong team on board at Doyle Sails NZ as we continue to develop and grow the maxi racing division of the company.”