Pirates ahoy! POTC 2 enters the Black Pearl in the Volvo round-the-world yacht race!

In one of the more unusual marketing ploys in movie history, Disney has joined with Volvo to enter a yacht named The Black Pearl to fly the skull-and-crossbones of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 in the world’s premier ocean race. So far there are seven yachts signed up to participate in the race, which will begin in Vigo, northern Spain, in mid-November 2005 and is scheduled to finish in Gothenburg, Sweden, in mid-June 2006, only a few weeks before the release of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST. The race is intensely competitive, and the cost of participation is estimated at approximately $12 million per yacht. POTC stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley will undergo training at the race headquarters in Portsmouth, and then each will join the Black Pearl as crew members during part of her journey, most likely for the in-shore races conducted at ports of call. Keira will crew in Europe; Orlando will join the race in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand; and Johnny will sail the Black Pearl when she reaches the US and Brazil.

Why would a movie company enter a high-stakes professional sporting competition? “Given the film’s high seas adventures and nautical themes, this marathon sporting event is a great way to make some waves and generate awareness among the millions of viewers,” explained Dick Cook, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios. We also think the POTC 2 yacht is a very pretty boat–er, ship–but we will refrain from making comments about boys and the cost of their toys.

Glenn Bourke, the Volvo Ocean Race CEO, is thrilled to have the POTC yacht (and its stars) enter his race. “The excitement and intrigue which this entry brings to the race takes us to a whole new level in terms of global profile and exposure. To link up with a Hollywood icon such as the Walt Disney Company is a fillip for the event and for sailing in general.” And do the pirates have a chance to steal across the finish line ahead of their competition? Says Bourke, “I fully expect this team, proudly flying the flag of the United States, will be at the sharp end of the race for honours.” We think that means Yes . . . .

The Zone thanks emma for breaking the story, and sjc for the lovely artwork of Captain Jack aboard the Volvo version of the Black Pearl. He looks right at home.

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