Roger kör igen

Roger Nilson (Sveriges bäste navigatör?) kör en repa till runt jorden med Telefonica. Cool! Annars är det tunnt med svenskar på de internationella båtarna?

Two offshore specialists with long associations with the Whitbread/Volvo have signed on for duty in the 2008-09 race.

For one of them, Sweden’s Roger Nilson, who has been announced as a navigator with the Telefonica team, it will be his seventh lap of the course and eighth circumnavigation in all. The other was aboard Orange II for the Jules Verne Trophy in 2005.

Nilson, 59, made his debut in the Whitbread in 1981-82 aboard Alsaka Eagle. His most recent race was the 2001-02 Volvo aboard Amer Sports One.

The Swedish doctor is looking forward to the 2008-09 race, not least the technological challenges. “I am delighted to be with the Spanish team, I enjoy the more Latin way to do these races,” he said.

“Since I was in the Volvo in 2001-02 there has been a really big jump, much bigger teams, much more support, the boats are lots faster and also the technology in the navigation area is completely different. So I have to learn new things everyday.”

Telefonica also added Spain’s David Vera and Frenchman Laurent Pages to bring their current crew total to 14.

Meanwhile, the Green Dragon team have bolstered their crew experience with the addition of Neal McDonald to the ranks.

McDonald comes highly decorated and, along with the confirmation of Anthony Merrington, take the team’s quota of sailors with Whitbread/Volvo expertise to four.

McDonald, 45, of Great Britain, who fills the role of watch leader, has three America’s Cups and three Whitbread/Volvo campaigns to his name.

His debut in the Whitbread was aboard Fortuna in 1993-94. His subsequent races included 1997-98 (Silk Cut) and 2001-02 (Assa Abloy). He had a stint as skipper of Ericsson in the 2005-06 race and is delighted to be returning for the 2008-09 edition. McDonald was part of the delivery crew from Gosport to Cork.

“I am very excited to be involved in this project,” he said. “The Volvo Ocean Race has always held a special place for me and I have a little unfinished business out there.

“This first sail has been awesome, it is great to see how the boat can perform, we have a fantastic team in place and I can’t wait to get back out sailing again.”

Merrington is included as trimmer/helmsman. The 35-year-old Australian has accumulated over 120,000 offshore miles in a 17-year career.