IN DEPTH: Vestas' new sails pitch

A team backed by global wind group Vestas will take part in the planet’s toughest yachting challenge, the Volvo Ocean Race, from October — sailing roughly 72,000km around the world and visiting 11 countries on its eight-month journey.

The Team Vestas yacht, which is currently being fitted out in Southampton, southern England, will stop over at some of the world’s key wind markets, including China, the US, Brazil and South Africa.

It will be the first Danish team to enter the contest, while its crew — captained by experienced Australian skipper Chris Nicholson — will be one of the youngest to compete in this year’s event, which was formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race.

“This will be our biggest sports marketing investment and probably one of the biggest global marketing campaigns by a pure renewables player ever. That said, we aren’t increasing our total marketing budget, just focusing it on utilising the unique opportunities that the Volvo Ocean Race provides to our brand and business,” says Vestas’ group senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, Morten Albæk.

“Our ambition is to use the Volvo Ocean Race platform to promote Vestas’ brand and products and also to tell the story about the competitiveness of wind technology and how wind is ready to take its place as a mainstream energy technology so that we can change the global energy mix.”

Vestas plans to hold events at every one of the stopovers during the race. “The sheer fact that we will be arriving on the shores of markets that are so fundamental for the future growth of the wind market and Vestas shows the potential that taking part will have,” says Albæk.

In terms of the competition, Albæk admits that “winning is going to very hard” as the Team Vestas is starting its preparations significantly later than other entrants. But he is confident that the team will get up to speed fast. Other competitors include teams from China/France, Abu Dhabi, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.