American under-30 sailor Rome Kirby has joined team AkzoNobel for the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race which starts from Alicante, Spain on Sunday, October 22.
He will serve as a helmsman and sail trimmer on the team AkzoNobel boat and is the team’s fifth under 30-selection, alongside boat captain Nicolai Sehested, 27 (DEN), Martine Grael, 26 (BRA), Brad Farrand, 28 (NZL) and twenty-three year-old Emily Nagel (GBR/BER) – the youngest female sailor in the race.
Professional sailing is in Kirby’s blood. His father Jerry Kirby had an illustrious career as a professional sailor in the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race and the pair are believed to be the only father and son to both win the America’s Cup.
In the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Kirby and team AkzoNobel skipper Brad Jackson were stranded for a week on the remote south Atlantic island Tristan de Cunha after the mast on their Puma Ocean Racing Volvo Open 70 broke into three pieces on the opening leg to Cape Town.
“Rome ticks all the boxes as far as a Volvo Ocean Race sailor is concerned,” said Jackson. “He’s young and strong, but also knowledgeable about how tough this race can be.
“His helming and trimming skills make him a real asset to the team and despite joining us late in the programme, with just two days to the start, I’m confident he will hit the ground running.”
On Sunday, October 22 in Alicante, team AkzoNobel will line up against six other international teams at the start of Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 to Lisbon, Portugal.
The course for the 2,494-kilometer leg takes the fleet out of the Mediterranean Sea via the Gibraltar Strait and around the Portuguese island of Porto Santo, 43 kilometers north-east of Madeira and is expected to take up to seven days to complete. Team AkzoNobel sailing team line up:
Brad Jackson (NZL) – skipper
Brad Farrand (NZL) – bowman, sail trimmer
Martine Grael (BRA) – sail trimmer
Rome Kirby (USA) – helmsman, sail trimmer
Luke Molloy (AUS) – helmsman, sail trimmer
Emily Nagel (BER) – sail trimmer
Jules Salter (GBR) – navigator
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) – boat captain, helmsman, sail trimmer
Joca Signorini (BRA) – watch captain, helmsman, sail trimmer