Prince Carl Philip of Sweden gave a royal seal of approval to the “great” Volvo Ocean Race of 2011-12 on Sunday following a memorable final day – and night – in Galway.
The Prince, a keen and talented sailor in his own right, presented the coveted trophy to Groupama skipper Franck Cammas at the end-of-Race gala dinner before 1400 guests.
He was up early the following morning to be given a personal tour of the Race’s Keep the Oceans Clean! exhibition dome by project leader Jacqui Smith and Skeleton Sea sculptor João Parrinha who have travelled around the world with the event making art from rubbish found on host port beaches.
The Prince was still full of excitement about the Race just completed when he gave an exclusive interview to volvooceanrace.com.
“We were talking yesterday about the In-Port Race Series being just one point difference. So close. It’s been a great race,” he said.
“I am a big admirer (of the sailors). I think they are incredible, strong, great lads. To do this work for nine months is amazing. I don’t think a lot of people could do what they are out there doing.”
So would the 33-year-old Patron of the Volvo Ocean Race actually fancy taking part in the nine-month marathon event himself given his love of the sport?
“I have been with the boats during the in-port race and that’s good enough,” he laughed. “But for the whole race? No, I leave that to the professionals. They know exactly what they are doing and they do it so well.”
He went on to pay tribute to the Race’s environmental initiative with Skeleton Sea, a campaign which was launched by three surfers including Parrinha after they decided to do something about the trash they constantly found pursuing the sport they loved.
“It’s an amazing project together with Skeleton Sea. But it’s actually quite scary to see how much garbage is out there – but then to see what art they can make out of this ocean garbage. It’s been a really good project.
“If you look at the Keep the Oceans Clean movie about the albatross, for example, you see how they find a lot of garbage when they dissect the dead albatross.
“But it’s not just birds but tuna, fish. Garbage affects the ocean, the animals, the fish and of course, us, as well. So it’s critical that we all take steps to cut back and reduce ocean pollution.”
The Prince was accompanied on the visit by Stefan Jacoby, CEO and President of Volvo Cars, Olof Persson, CEO and President of Volvo Group, and Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad.