The Volvo Ocean Race provides the ultimate test for some of the world’s greatest sailors, pushing teams to their limits in a 46,000-nautical-mile race around the world. Combining human adventure with technological innovation, cutting-edge design and the inherent pre-requisite for safety, the race embodies the philosophy that goes in to every Volvo car.
Building a path towards potentially competing in the ultimate sailing challenge, Volvo has supported British sailing, from grassroots through to internationally competitive sailors for nearly 20 years. From the Volvo Gill Optimist Class, through the RS Association and on to our world-class brand ambassadors that make up Team Volvo, Volvo is a driving force in British sailing.
Meet Team Volvo
In the UK, Volvo supports some of Britain’s best sailing talent as they compete on the international stage, with many going on to challenge themselves further on the ‘Everest of sailing’ – the Volvo Ocean Race.
Since 1999, Volvo has supported sailing from grassroots, through youth development, up to professionally competitive athletes at the pinnacle of their sport. Collectively known as Team Volvo, this inspirational group of individuals represents the very best of British sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing talent. The team includes award-winning athletes, Volvo Ocean Race winners, multiple World Champions and Olympians – all of whom are legends within the sport.
Hannah Mills & Eilidh McIntyre
Cardiff-born Hannah Mills won Olympic gold in the women’s 470 class at Rio 2016 and was honoured with the Female World Sailor title in the same year. She represents the strength in depth of British sailing, having progressed from being the first Briton to be crowned Optimist Girls’ World Champion to partnering Saskia Clark to claim the 470 World Champion title in 2012, Olympic silver at London 2012 and Olympic gold at Rio 2016. Hannah’s goal now is to achieve gold at Tokyo 2020, a feat which would make her the world’s most successful female Olympic sailor. She is joined in her mission by Eilidh McIntyre, a 23-year old from Hayling Island in Hampshire. Eilidh has a strong family pedigree, her father Michael being the gold medal winner in the Star Class in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
Luke Patience & Chris Grube
Luke Patience, born and raised in Helensburgh, Scotland, has been sailing since childhood, making his competition debut in the 470 Olympic class in 2004. Teamed with Stuart Bithell at London 2012, he narrowly missed out on gold in the 470 medal race. In the lead up to Rio 2016, he and new partner Elliott Willis enjoyed competition success, before health issues forced Elliott to withdraw. Luke then teamed up with Chris Grube, with whom he’d previously sailed in junior competition. Chris “Twiggy” Grube, from Chester, first developed his love of sailing as a youngster at Bala Sailing Club in Wales. He just missed out on securing the 470 Class boat for London 2012, partnering Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers. Rio 2016 marked his Olympic debut, sailing with Luke.
Helena Lucas MBE
Double Paralympic medallist and British sailing’s golden girl, Helena Lucas MBE made history by claiming 2.4mR Paralympic gold at London 2012, becoming the first ever female winner of this male-dominated Paralympic class and Britain’s first ever Paralympic sailing gold medallist. Helena medalled again at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, gaining a bronze, officially making her Britain's most successful sailing Paralympian.
Ian Walker MBE
Volvo Ocean Race winner, Yachtsman of the Year 2015 and Olympian, Ian is a sailing legend and an inspiration to many sailors around the world. Two-time Olympic silver medallist, and coach to Shirley Robertson during her Gold-winning Games in Athens (2004), Ian has most recently competed in three Volvo Ocean Races, finally becoming the first ever British winner of the race as skipper of Abu Dhabi in 2015. Ian drives a Volvo XC90.
There are two sides to every athletes life. We caught up with Volvo Ocean Race winner and father Ian Walker MBE.
International Optimist Class Association
Since 1999, Volvo has supported sailing from grassroots, through youth development, up to professionally competitive athletes at the pinnacle of their sport. We are delighted to join forces with Gill in a sponsorship deal with the International Optimist Class Association (IOCA-UK).
We are proud to be able to support sailors in the early part of their careers, and racing an Optimist is the perfect start, suitable for girls and boys up to the age of 15. It is a great boat in which to learn to sail, but it is also the boat many top-class sailors have started in. Hannah Mills is the perfect example, having started sailing in the Optimist class, progressing up the ranks to become an Olympic gold medal winner and a member of Team Volvo.
We hope that through our involvement with IOCA-UK we can help to inspire the next generation of sailors, whether it be for leisure or competition, with the ultimate aim of joining the British Sailing Team, the most successful national Olympic sailing team of all time.