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'Black Pearl' Leads All-Star Fleet in Volvo Ocean Race


The first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 gets underway in Vigo in Spain on Saturday. The seven boat fleet is heading off on the 10,300 kilometer journey to Cape Town, South Africa. One ship is attracting attention because of it's association with a popular Disney movie.

The wind is forecast to blow, and the world will finally get a chance to see the new speed kids on the block - the VO 70's specially designed for this race - show their true colors.

The American entry is The Black Pearl - skippered by a former winner of this race, Paul Cayard - and funded by Disney to promote the sequel to the Pirates of the Caribbean proved too much for one America's Cup sailor, Curtis Blewitt, who's taking a break from that competition to sail on the boat for the first two legs.

"This is a real opportunity," said Curtis Blewitt. "I mean, sail round the world on a Pirate ship? I saw the announcement of this team, prior to Paul becoming involved, and thought, gee, how great would it be to sail around the world with the skull and bones on your bow, you know, and on your sails? That's pretty good. A pirate ship! I'm a pirate, we're all pirates, that's why we do it."

The Black Pearl was a late entry in the race, not a problem for the fabulously funded ABN AMRO one team - who've been together for 18 months - their American navigator Stan Honey could see the fastest ride out of Spain once the start gun fires.

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