Round the world race boss Knut Frostad has paid tribute to Kiwi yachting legend Sir Peter Blake as the latest fleet gets ready for the second leg to start from Cape Town this weekend.
Frostad chose to speak on the 10th anniversary of Sir Peter's tragic death at the hands of pirates in the Amazon on December 6, 2001.
Frostad labelled Sir Peter "the best there was in terms of seamanship".
Sir Peter was a major figure in blue water sailing contesting the first five round the world races and winning aboard Steinlager 2 in 1989-90. Blake's success on Steinlager 2 was total - winning all six legs on both handicap and line honours.
He then went on to help mastermind New Zealand's America's Cup success and work at environmental awareness.
"He was an inspiration to me personally and to so many other sailors who have taken part in this race," said Knut Frostad, the Volvo Ocean Race CEO, in Cape Town.
"He had incredible determination and was such a remarkable leader. It was not just the fact that he won so much, it was the way he did it. In terms of seamanship, he was the best there was, and he was a real gentleman."
Sir Peter's widow Lady Pippa Blake was named as an ambassador for the first Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta this year and the main trophy was named in his honour.
"I was privileged to spend time with Lady Pippa Blake during the Legends Regatta," said Frostad. "Peter was fondly remembered by the many sailors and friends who gathered in Alicante for what was a celebration of a race history he played such a big part in.
"As well as being one of the true greats of our sport, he was also a terrific ambassador and campaigner for the preservation of the oceans, which is something that is close to our hearts too.
"I am pleased that we are returning to Peter's home turf of Auckland in this race. It seems fitting to be going back there as we remember him now."
Camper, the Team New Zealand entry in the latest race, is second after the opening leg.
The small fleet leaves Cape Town on Sunday to contest the second leg to Abu Dhabi over 5,430 nautical miles away.