Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari has named her first crew member of the 2017-18 edition by signing up two-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran Liz Wardley.
The Australian, who first competed in the Race in 2001-02 onboard Amer Sports Too, and more recently was part of Team SCA’s 2014-15 campaign, joins the team as Boat Captain.
Liz made her name winning numerous titles in the Hobie Cat 16 class, before winning the Sydney-Hobart Race in 1999, having skippered a boat at the age of just 19 the previous year.
Wardley boasts more experience around the One Design Volvo Ocean 65’s than anyone else on the planet having clocked up over 80,000 nautical miles over the last four years.
Since the end of the Team SCA campaign, she has been working as part of the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard team in Lisbon, as the facility completed a comprehensive refit of the whole fleet.
“I’m absolutely delighted to join Turn the Tide on Plastic for the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race,” said Wardley. “I’ve made no secret of my desire to compete for a third time and to do so as part of what will be a fully mixed crew is incredibly exciting.
“I’ve spent a lot of time around the Volvo Ocean 65s since the end of the 2014-15 edition and I’ve learned a lot which I can’t wait to put into practice during another race around the world.”
The Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign, backed by the Mirpuri Foundation and the Ocean Family Foundation, will amplify the United Nations Environment’s ‘Clean Seas: Turn the Tide on Plastic’ message throughout the Race.
Wardley, who was born and raised in Papua New Guinea, is a passionate ocean health campaigner and believes that this campaign can make a real difference to what is a growing issue.
“As someone who grew up around the ocean in some of the most remote parts of the planet, I have seen the heartbreaking impact of plastic pollution first hand,” she continued. “We need to do something about it – and I’m extremely proud about being part of this trailblazing campaign, backed by some passionate partners, which I really believe can make an incredible impact on a global scale.”
Caffari, who has been trialling potential crew members in Lisbon over the past month as she aims to build a youth-orientated and mixed squad, added that Wardley’s experience makes her a key part of the team.
“I know Liz well having sailed alongside her on Team SCA and she is one of the best in the business,” she said. “She knows the Volvo Ocean 65 inside out having spent more time around these boats than any other sailor in the world – male or female – and that’s experience you simply can’t replicate.”
Caffari and Wardley oversaw a trial crew which recently sailed the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat from Lisbon, Portugal to Gosport, UK where the full Volvo Ocean Race fleet is stationed ahead of the beginning of Leg Zero on Wednesday 2 August. Further members of the Turn the Tide on Plastic crew will be announced shortly.
The Turn the Tide on Plastic boat will amplify the Volvo Ocean Race’s larger sustainability focus, and joins team AkzoNobel (Simeon Tienpont, Netherlands), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier, France), MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández, Spain), Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright, USA), Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (David Witt, Australia) and Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking, Netherlands) in the fleet for the 2017-18 edition.
The Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante on 22 October and will stop at Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg before a big finish in The Hague at the end of June 2018.