16 December 2010 – Rothmans, skippered by Britain’s Lawrie Smith in The Whitbread Round the World Race1989-90 (the forerunner of the Volvo Ocean Race), will sail from Sweden to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race Legends regatta and reunion. At 80’, she is three feet longer than Great Britain II, who is also entered, along with the smallest yacht ever, 45’ Copernicus from Poland, both of whom took part in 1973-74.
Rothmans originally sailed with a crew of up to 16 and finished the race in fourth place overall, taking 131 days to complete the 33,000 nautical mile course. It was Lawrie Smith’s second race, having completed part of the course on Simon Le Bon’s Drum in 1985-86.
Since finishing The Whitbread, Rothmans has been kept in pristine condition by present owner Bob Erixon and his friends in Scandinavia, who successfully campaigned her in 2003 winning the Round Gotland race and finishing up the order in other Scandinavian regattas.
Erixon formed a syndicate among 16 of his friends to co-own the boat and she still sails under the name of Rothmans. “The target was to sail the Atlantic and to compete in races like Cowes Week and the ARC,” he explains. “We think the Volvo Ocean Race Legends regatta and reunion is a fabulous idea and all the owners are very enthusiastic about it,” he confirmed.
“We are all between 44 – 60 years old and we have watched The Whitbread and the Volvo Ocean Race for a long time. We would love to sail against some of the older boats as well as some of the more modern ones. We have already raced against Charles Jourdan (WRTRW 1989-90). The Volvo Ocean Race Legends regatta fell right in to place in our Atlantic and Caribbean race tour that is planned for 2011-12,” he added.
The boat is in original and fantastic condition and has been continuously maintained. Apart from some new electronics, she is in her original racing trim and is sure to be competitive next November in Alicante.
About the Volvo Legends Regatta and Reunion• The first ever official reunion of all who have sailed in the world’s premier ocean race since the inaugural race in 1973-74
• To be held in Alicante, Spain from 1-5 November 2011, week between Alicante in-port race and the start of leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race• A full racing schedule over two days
• Will conclude with a departure ceremony and parade of sail to escort the Volvo Ocean Race fleet to the start line for Leg ONE• A rich shoreside programme includes a regatta prizegiving, a gala dinner and a host of other social events
• Chat shows and forums after racing• Legends entries open for public viewing
• 148 boats have crossed the start line in the 37-year history of The Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race• 1974 crew competed in the first 10 events
• The first 31,250 nautical-mile race first took place 37 years ago (as the Whitbread Round the World Race 1973-74), testing the crews against some of the most ferocious elements that man can encounter• The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 will be the 11th edition of the event
About Rothmans• She finished fourth overall in the WRTWR 1989-90
• Elapsed time:131.04.54.23• Designer: Rob Humphreys
• LOA: 80 feet• Rig: sloop
• Crew: 13-16• Skipper: Lawrie Smith
• Navigator: Vincent Geake• The boat’s race programme also includes Cowes Week, the Fastnet, the ARC, the Heineken regatta, Antigua Race Week and the Newport to Bermuda race.