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VELUX 5 OCEANS – race start in Bilbao today

Today, six brave skippers set out from Port Getxo in Bilbao in their beautiful Formula-1 racing yachts for the start of VELUX 5 OCEANS.

The first skipper to reach Bilbao again, about seven months from now, will be honoured as the winner of the prestigious solo round-the-world race.

Port Getxo in Bilbao provided a spectacular scenery for today’s start of VELUX 5 OCEANS. Hundreds of spectators came to bid the courageous skippers farewell as they set out to face the ordeals of the five oceans. The Bishop of Bilbao, Ricardo Blázquez Pérez, came to the Getxo harbour for the ritual blessing of boats and skippers.

- The port of Getxo and the beautiful location of Bilbao and the fantastic facilities of the city makes this place the perfect venue for the VELUX 5 OCEANS race start. Being at the harbour of Getxo, seeing the yachts and meeting the skippers personally has given us an excellent impression of the extreme challenges facing these yachtsmen. It’s obvious to us all that they are men of a very different fibre, says Michael K. Rasmussen, VELUX A/S Marketing Director.

VELUX window to each skipper
As promised when VELUX announced the title sponsorship of VELUX 5 OCEANS in September 2005, each of the skippers at the starting line will receive the new state-of-the art VELUX GGL/GGU INTEGRA® window to honour their courageous participation in the race.

- We consider the race a perfect match for our VELUX core values. The challenges facing the skippers and their boats remind us of the requirements to our products; therefore, we found it appropriate to mark the race start by giving each skipper one of our new INTEGRA® windows. This all-in-one electrically operable window is constructed according to the qualities of strength and endurance, and is facing up to the challenge even during extreme weather conditions – just like the skippers, says Michael K. Rasmussen, VELUX A/S Marketing Director.

After the skippers said their final goodbyes to their families and friends on the quays, they went aboard not to set foot on land until they reach Fremantle, Australia, a couple of weeks from now. The skippers were sailed outside the harbour to their yachts, which were moored at the starting line ready for the traditional presentation of sails. Seeing the beautiful yachts at full sails pass by the harbour, the spectators began to feel the magnitude of the event, and the stories of the sailing legends suddenly became very present.

When the signal sounded for the race start, the eight brave circumnavigators followed by a large number of private boats passed the Getxo harbour one last time to receive the cheers of the crowd.

The toughest of the tough
The skippers competing in VELUX 5 OCEANS are an exceptional breed of men. The weather-beaten face of sailing legend Sir Knox-Johnston says it all. He was the first man ever to sail single-handed round the world non-stop. Now, at 67, he sets out to compete for the VELUX 5 OCEANS trophy.

VELUX 5 OCEANS is characterised as the ultimate solo challenge and the longest, toughest sporting event in the world calling for extraordinary stamina and endurance of the skippers.

- Today’s race start was a beautiful and well-deserved farewell to the brave skippers of VELUX 5 OCEANS. Now they will race single-handed across five oceans, battling time and nature to secure a place in the exclusive company of solo circumnavigators, says David Stubley, Chairman of the VELUX 5 OCEANS Board and Director of Clipper Ventures plc.

With the start of VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007, a new chapter in the adventures of solo round-the-world sailing has begun.

For more information please contact:
Lone Ellersgaard
Communications Manager
Ådalsvej 99
2970 Hørsholm
Tlf. +45 45 16 48 18
Fax: +45 45 16 40 02

E-mail: press@velux.com  

To find out more about VELUX and VELUX 5 Oceans please visit:

Facts about VELUX 5 Oceans
VELUX 5 Oceans is recognized as the longest and toughest sporting event for any individual – single-handed across five oceans in thoroughbred racing yachts through the most extreme weather nature can throw at them. This year the race is even tougher, with fewer stops and longer legs. The race starts October 22 in Bilbao, Spain and stretches across three legs with stopovers in Australia and USA. The race will take the contestants through the World’s most feared and legendary waters including the treacherous, ice cold and unpredictable South Sea. At the finish in Bilbao the contestants will have endured more than 30.000 nautical miles. Only 126 brave sailors have ever sailed round-the-world. To put this in perspective, there have been more than 400 astronauts in space, and more than 1,200 mountain climbers have reached the peak of Mount Everest. VELUX 5 Oceans is only for the world’s toughest and most skilled sailors. Eight skippers have entered VELUX 5 Oceans 2006-07.

Facts about the VELUX sponsorship
In 2006, VELUX is the title sponsor of the 5 Oceans race for the first time. The sponsorship of the around- the-world adventure supports the VELUX key values – daylight and fresh air. The challenge for the skippers is parallel to the requirements to the VELUX core products - roof windows and skylights - exposed to all kinds of weather. The products must always deliver the very best under all conditions – regardless of cold, storms, dry spells or blizzards. Quality, technology and endurance are the key words.

VELUX 5 Oceans matches the VELUX brand, values, strategies and markets. The company works with daylight in buildings and thus with the natural environment’s importance for the well-being of human beings. The characteristics of yachting correspond to our company’s ambition of constantly mastering the elements and having the commitment to push boundaries.

Facts about the INTEGRA® window
The new INTEGRA® window from VELUX is an all-in-one electrically operable window based on the io-homecontrol® protocol. The INTEGRA® window is equipped with a rain sensor that automatically closes the window in case of rain. INTEGRA® embodies VELUX latest research and technology in daylight, fresh air, climate control and energy saving. The INTEGRA® window is displayed in the VELUX Atika demonstration house on the Bilbao harbour front.

VELUX creates better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof. Our product programme contains a wide range of roof windows and skylights, along with solutions for flat roofs. In addition, VELUX offers many types of decoration and sun screening, roller shutters, installation products, products for remote control and thermal solar panels for installation in roofs. VELUX, which has manufacturing companies in 10 countries and sales companies in just under 40 countries, is one of the strongest brands in the global building materials sector and its products are sold in most parts of the world. The VELUX Group has around 9,000 employees and is owned by VKR Holding A/S. VKR Holding A/S is a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family. For more details, visit www.velux.com.

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