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Cayard to sail Disney yacht in Volvo race

The 70-footer will be used to promote the upcoming movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

The 70-footer will be used to promote the upcoming movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

American sailor Paul Cayard announced that he would participate in the 2005-’06 Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of the Black Pearl, a 70-foot yacht the Walt Disney Company will use to promote the sequel to its hit film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”

Cayard, who is 46 and from San Francisco, is a seven-time sailing world champion and has competed in five America’s Cup campaigns. He was elected to the Sailing World Hall of Fame in 2002 and was the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in 1998. In that year Cayard won the Volvo Ocean Race, known then as the Whitbread Round The World Race, becoming the first American winner.

“It was the most exciting race of my life, one that has left an indelible mark on my professional career and provided me with the most on a human level,” Cayard says of the race in his statement made on Aug. 2. “That’s why I decided to do it again.”

Other top candidates for the skipper position included former Volvo Ocean Race racers Chris Larson and Kimo Worthington.

The Black Pearl, designed by Farr Yacht Design and constructed at Green Marine in Southampton, England, will help promote Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” scheduled to be released in the summer of 2006. Computer renderings of the boat indicate it will feature a black-and-red hull, and sport a skull-and-crossbones graphic on its mainsail.

“Disney’s involvement in the project has been another determining factor,” Cayard says of his decision to become skipper. “It’s an enormous opportunity to introduce the general public to sailing and to the Volvo Ocean Race. I simply couldn’t say ‘no’ to a proposal of this scope.”

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” will again feature Hollywood stars like Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. Glenn Bourke, Volvo Ocean Race CEO, has said that any of the stars could turn up for appearances on the boat and race in around-the-buoys contests scheduled at each stopover.

The 31,250-nautical-mile, six-month around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race is set to kick off Nov. 12 from Vigo, Spain. Racers will make stops in Cape Town, South Africa; Melbourne, Australia; Wellington, New Zealand; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Baltimore; New York; Portsmouth, England; and Rotterdam, Netherlands, before finishing in Gothenberg, Sweden in June 2006.