ante played host to more than its usual Costa del Sunseekers at the weekend, as sailing fans and corporate sponsors flocked to say “bon voyage” to the vessels of one the world’s largest boat challenges – the Volvo Ocean Race.
FTSE satellite giant Inmarsat is one of the race partners; its tracking technology keeping the teams safe and recording their 10 month round-the-world challenge, so its executives took the chance to soak up the atmosphere at race village for the weekend.
CEO Rupert Pearce soaked up more than just the atmosphere though. The chief had the honour of spending the start of the race on the Chinese-backed Dongfeng boat, but since they didn’t fancy carrying him to the next stop (Cape Town), he conducted a ceremonial leap off the back into the waves at upwards of 16 knots. “It was a brilliant experience,” he enthused to The Capitalist as he dried off.
Meanwhile Team Inmarsat had a very special guest for the weekend. Following their close work together in the search for flight MH370, the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, took up the invitation to don a Musto jacket and boat shoes for the weekend too.
Having spent the afternoon on a racing boat, his excellency took to the helm and smashed that day’s speed record, taking the boat from 12 knots up to 17.1, looking as cool as a cucumber.
“One day I’d like to see a full Chinese team in the race,” he said (two of the Dongfeng team are Chinese). “And after that, an all female Chinese team.” With only one all-women team taking part this year, we’ll drink to that.