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Thompson, Lunven add experience to Turn the Tide on Plastic roster

by Volvo Ocean Race on 5 Oct 5 October 2017
Volvo Ocean Race Leg Zero, on board Turn the Tide on Plastic © Beau Outteridge / Turn the Tide on Plastic

Turn the Tide on Plastic have added British offshore legend Brian Thompson and the renowned French solo sailor Nicolas Lunven to their roster ahead of the Prologue Leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, which starts on Sunday.

Skipper Dee Caffari describes Thompson as "one of the fastest people on the water". A vastly experienced offshore sailor, he has broken the round the world record twice, and sailed non-stop around the world four times, the first British sailor to accomplish this. He was part of the winning ABN AMRO ONE crew in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race.

"I'm really thrilled that Brian Thompson is part of our team," Caffari said. "He has broken more speed records than just about anyone else in sailing and having sailed many miles with Brian in the past, I am confident that he will bring a calm knowledge and air of confidence to our team."

Nicolas Lunven won the gruelling Solitaire du Figaro in 2009 at the age of just 26 and has since secured podium places in the event in 2012 and 2016. He also sailed as navigator with MAPFRE at the beginning of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.

"It's a pleasure to have Nico join the team," Caffari said. "He is an accomplished short-handed sailor, culminating as the French Figaro champion this year. We will harness his experience, and welcome him as an adaptable and tenacious team member. Two invaluable qualities to the team's cohesion and performance."

Lunven and Thompson will split off the navigator duties on the Turn the Tide on Plastic team. Lunven is scheduled to be on board through Melbourne, at which point Thompson will join the crew through the Auckland stopover. The dynamic duo will share the navigator duties through the rest of the race.

"I'm looking forward to sailing and working on navigation with Nico," Thompson says. "It's going to be really rewarding and I'm sure I'll learn a lot.

"I think this is the most interesting team in the race, with the fully mixed crew, the majority being youth sailors and the important sustainability message that the team is carrying around the world."

For his part, Lunven says the opportunity to compete against the world's best sailors in the premiere fully-crewed offshore race was too good to pass up. "You have to grab these kind of opportunities. I'm really happy to work with Brian. The idea is for us is to work as a 'pair' with me sailing the first legs."

For skipper Caffari, the additional experience that Thompson and Lunven bring to the team is timely and invaluable.

"We have a lot to learn and there are stages to go through until we are fully cohesive," she says. "Nico and Brian will aid this process with our mixed youth crew and we have all the motivation, qualities and skills needed to be competitive while upholding a strong message of diversity."

The learning process for Caffari and her team continues this weekend, when Turn the Tide on Plastic competes in the Prologue leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Seven teams will race their Volvo Ocean 65s nearly 700 nautical miles to Alicante, Spain, the host city and start port of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Prologue is scheduled to start on Sunday 8 October at 1300 UTC, with the teams arriving in Alicante on Wednesday/Thursday.

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