Fourth team announced for the Volvo Ocean Race
Dutch sailor Bouwe Bekking will return for a record-equalling seventh bid for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of a new campaign launched by Brunel today in Amsterdam.
For both sailor and sponsor, it is a case of “unfinished business”. Bekking, 50, has competed in the event twice as skipper without winning and Team Brunel will be having their third crack at ocean sailing’s most prestigious crown on the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65.
Team Brunel is the fourth campaign to announce its participation in the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race which starts with the Alicante in-port race on 4 October next year before setting off for the nine-month, 39,370 mile long race a week later.
For Bekking, this latest challenge from one of the world’s leading nautical nations is a chance to put the record straight having twice finished runner-up in an event that is part of Dutch sailing heritage having had three winners over the event’s 40 years.
Competing this time, he will match the record of Swede Roger Nilson as the only man to have competed in the race seven times, nearly 30 years after his first attempt in 1985-86.
“A Dutch-speaking team in the Volvo Ocean Race again – we owe this to our heritage and the future sailing generations to come," said Bekking. "But above all it’s the best sailing in the world. Our nation is known around the world as the country of windmills, dykes, tulips, cheese, wooden clogs – and the Volvo Ocean Race. The race is just in our blood.”
Referring to his partnership with Brunel, the global project management, recruitment and consultancy company, Bekking added: “It is a great opportunity to reinforce to the world what Brunel stands for: diverse, international and dynamic. The Volvo Ocean Race is the perfect vehicle to showcase this message.”
Brunel CEO Jan Arie van Barneveld stated: “We are really happy that Brunel has again its own team and own sailing machine in the most exiting and prestigious sailing regatta in the world. The formula of the race has been improved significantly: the boats are identical so it’s the teams that make the difference. It is about the quality and cooperation between the people. That is Brunel! We go for the people, the sport and the victory."
The team joins all-female campaign Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and the Chinese challenge Team Dongfeng in the 2014-15 line-up announced so far.
The Dutch have a glorious heritage in the race, starting when it was known as the Whitbread Round the World Race in the 1977-78 race, which was won by the legendary skipper Conny van Rietschoten on Flyer. He triumphed again in 1981-82 and remains the only skipper to have won the Volvo Ocean Race twice.
Brunel made its debut in the 1997-98 race as BrunelSunergy and the company returned in 2005-06 in a race that was won by rival Dutch challenger, ABN AMRO One.
Three-time race veteran and Chairman of Sailing Holland, Gideon Messink, is delighted to see all the hard preparation work putting together the latest Dutch challenge paying off: “Our goal is to enter a professional winning team in the Volvo Ocean Race. The Volvo Ocean 65 high-tech, one-design boat is a great improvement. It’s now all about sport and teamwork.
“We are very happy that we found the golden team to do this with miles and miles of experience in every aspect. We have one of the best sailors and skippers in the world in Bouwe Bekking and twice-Volvo Ocean Race participant and great team player Gerd-Jan Poortman already named in our crew.
“Brunel is an ambitious sponsor with its roots in sailing sports. Our organisation is based on expertise and experience in sailing, both business-wise and on the water. Last but certainly not least, we have the support of the Dutch people.”
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad added: “This announcement is great news all round. Brunel is a sponsor coming back to the race for the third time and feels like part of the Volvo Ocean Race family. They are here to win. They’re a fantastic sponsor.
“Bouwe is a great sailor and totally experienced skipper. He’s come close to winning many times – I’m sure he has some unfinished business with the event. This will be a real Dutch team and will create a real buzz in a country that knows the race so well. They will start training very soon – it’s all coming together.”
The campaign’s secondary sponsors will be Moduleo, a division of the IVC Group which is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of vinyl floor coverings.