Bouwe Bekking, the most experienced sailor in Volvo Ocean Race history, will return to skipper the seventh confirmed team in the 2017-18 edition – and give himself another chance at claiming an elusive first victory at the eighth attempt.
No one has sailed more miles in the Volvo Ocean Race than Bekking, who made his first appearance as a crewmember on Philips Innovator back in 1985-86.
More than 30 years on, and now aged 54, Bekking’s Volvo Ocean Race obsession has only intensified.
Team backers include Brunel, the Dutch-based global project management, recruitment and consultancycompany, and its founder Jan Brand. Brunel are Volvo Ocean Race veterans themselves, having had their first involvement in 1997-98.
The theme of the 2017-18 campaign is ‘Engineering the Future.’ – an initiative of a consortium of Dutch companies, including Brunel, Abel, Royal Huisman and EY.
“The team’s goal is to accelerate the next generation,” said Bekking. “We win by bringing together experience and talent, and creating opportunities for the next generation.”
Brunel founder Jan Brand added: “Together, we are able to define new rules and possibilities for the future. Team Brunel empowers the new generation to take the helm.”
With four months to go before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, the starting grid is almost full.
The other confirmed entries are team AkzoNobel (skippered by Simeon Tienpont), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier), MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández), Vestas11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright), Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (David Witt) and Turn The Tide On Plastic (Dee Caffari).
The race will start from Alicante on 22 October, with a maximum of eight One Design Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts in the fleet. Seven of the boats have undergone an extensive refit process after being raced in 2014-15. The eighth is a brand new yacht, built for team AkzoNobel.