|'Emirates Team New Zealand - Volvo Ocean Race 2010' Emirates Team New Zealand / Photo Chris Cameron ETNZ ©|
Volvo Ocean Race - The third update this week is from Camper. We hear from Skipper Chris Nicholson and Dalia Saliamonas, Project Director for Camper in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Nicholson reports on the progress of the build of their new Volvo Open 70 in Auckland and the preparations of their travelling base, ready for when the show hits the road. And back in the Mediterranean, Saliamonas explains how Camper, the ‘great little Spanish shoe company' is gearing up to get the most out of the Volvo Ocean Race.
With a year to go and counting until the start gun in Alicante, Camper is in good shape.
The on-water side of the project, run by Emirates Team New Zealand, has nearly completed the design phase and is well into the build of their new Volvo Open 70. The hull and packages are due for completion by mid-November and the team at Cookson Boats in Auckland will start putting the structure inside the boat in the next week or so.
'We are more or less on schedule, which is almost unheard of, so we are a little wary,' was Nicholson's guarded comment. 'We are just about to complete our fourth wind tunnel testing session and at the end of that, we will start to choose the initial sail designs for when the boat hits the water in mid April'.
The final sailing crew will be announced in mid-December, and in the interim most have been continuing to participate in regattas and getting as much sailing in as possible before officially starting on the CAMPER project in March next year.
'The team is coming together well, and they have done quite a bit of sailing, which is good - I'm getting a bit rusty as I have been a bit desk-bound over the past few months!' he continued.
While Nicholson, the boat builders and the design team have been developing and refining the boat, the shore-side of Emirates Team New Zealand have been developing and working on the team's shore base set-up.
This facility is the engine room of any Volvo Ocean Race team and is a critical element to the overall success of the campaign. Camper plans to have a test base set up in Auckland from early in the New Year to ensure that it is completely self-sufficient by the time the boat leaves the yard in April.
The shore base, which is almost like a mini-town, will have all the facilities needed by the team including a full cooking facility, rigging areas, storage as well as a crew mess and offices.
'We want to have a dress rehearsal for the main event and our intention is to have our Camper base in the Viaduct Basin for three months until we leave for Europe.' Says Nicholson, 'We will set up the base before the boat leaves Cooksons and then try to be self-sufficient rather than rely on Emirates Team New Zealand. In essence, this will be our travelling shore base, so it will be a good test to see if it works!'
While the Emirates Team New Zealand on-water programme is at full throttle, Camper are also in the midst of planning and putting together their strategies to fully maximise their involvement in the project.
While Camper has a relationship with sailing, the Volvo Ocean Race is its first leap into this mammoth adventure of premium global sports sponsorship. Camper, a leading Spanish brand from Mallorca is often referred to as a ‘great little Company' and looks for international recognition as the ‘great little Spanish shoe Company'. The family-owned Mallorcan company has a market presence in 42 countries and sells an average of 4 million shoes a year, so a global event like the Volvo Ocean Race, is a great fit (no puns intended!).
Having identified the stopovers that are key countries to the Camper brand, the company is currently developing specific projects for each of these markets as well as looking how to maximise the opportunities through its 320 shops and shop in shops worldwide and in 2800 independent retailers around the world.
'For us at Camper this is a fairly new departure, but one that is very exciting and will involve the entire company. We will sleep, dream and breathe the Race at all levels as we feel it is a perfect tool to reinforce brand awareness and our Mediterranean roots in a hugely international scenario, as well as reach out to existing and potential customers in a very unique environment,' commented Dalia Saliamonas.
'Camper is constantly growing and we still have specific markets around the world where we want to continue to reinforce the Camper brand and introduce our roots. As a company we are passionate about innovation and technology and this event gives us the vehicle to keep on developing brand awareness. At the end of this year we will be presenting our plans to our global teams so that they can then take them and develop them more specifically for their markets and as a company we are committed to delivering our objectives both on and off the water.
'We have been watching with interest the developments at Volvo Ocean Race,' concluded Saliamonas, 'specifically the broadcast and marketing plans and we will be looking to ally our plans accordingly. While we are new to the Race we are looking at our participation with ‘passion' and feel confident that as a brand with a ‘soul' the Camper team will add some Mediterranean flair to this great adventure!'