Bekking, Brunel return NL to Volvo Ocean Race
AMSTERDAM – Three sailors _ the cream of the Netherlands’ ocean racers _ and Brunel International NV have teamed up to put a Dutch boat in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. The sailors include Bouwe Bekking (right), who will be the skipper. Bekking, 50, has competed 7 times (twice as skipper) in the round-the-world without winning. Team Brunel will take its 3rd stab at victory in the world’s most demanding sailing event.
Team Brunel is the 4th campaign to announce its participation in the 12th VOR, a 9-month, 39,379nm contest that leaves Alicante, Spain, Oct. 4, 2014. The Dutch entry may force VOR organizers to rejig their planned stopovers by adding a Dutch port. The other 3 teams that have declared their participation are Team Dongfeng (China), Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Sweden’s all-female Team SCA. The 2014-15 VOR will end in Gothenburg. Organizers count on about 8 teams in all.
Putting a Dutch boat into the next VOR ends a 4-year drought. The last VOR with a Dutch entry was the 2008-09 race. Bekking worked for months on a Dutch campaign, hampered by Europe’s enduring economic slump. He calls the VOR the “best sailing in the world.” Jan Arie van Barneveld, the CEO of Brunel _ a global project management, recruitment and consultancy company _ says he looks forward to see our “own team and own sailing machine in the most exciting and prestigious sailing regatta in the world.”
The next race will be run in a one-design VOR 65 being built by 4 yards: Green Marine (UK), Decision (CH), Multiplast (F) and Persico (I). The shift to identical boats is designed to end the massive duplication in developing cutting-edge racing yachts. A VOR campaign is now costed at $15 million, a charge that can be spread across 2 VOR races.
Bekking’s sailing partners are fellow VOR veterans Gerd-Jan Poortman (left) and Gideon Messink. The VOR’s precursor was the Whitbread Round the World Race. Its 1977-78 edition was won by Dutch industrialist Conny van Rietschoten in Flyer. He won again in 1981-82 and remains the only skipper to have won the event twice. Brunel debuted in the 1997-98 race, as BrunelSunergy, and returned in the 2005-06 VOR.
Bouwe Bekking in Whitbread / VOR:
1985-86 Philips Innovator (2nd overall)
1993-94 Winston (4th overall Whitbread 60)
1997-98 Merit Cup (2nd overall)
2001-02 Amer Sports One (3rd overall)
2005-06 Movistar (6th overall)
2008-09 Telefonica Blue (3rd overall)
2014-15 Team Brunel
Gerd Jan Poortman in the Whitbread / VOR:
2005-06 Team ABN AMRO TWO (4th overall)
2008-09 Team Delta Lloyd (7th overall)
The Netherlands in the Whitbread/VOR:
- Dutch industrialist Conny van Rietschoten was skipper and winner of the 1977-78 and 1981-82 Whitbreads in Flyer and Flyer II. He is the only skipper to have won the race twice.
- ABN AMRO ONE (Skipper Mike Sanderson/NZ) won the 2005-06 VOR, the 3rd victory for a Dutch boat in the VOR.
- Hans Bouscholte (1997-98 on BrunelSunergy) and Roy Heiner (1997-98 on BrunelSunergy) were the last Dutch skippers with a Dutch entry in the VOR.
- Bouwe Bekking was the last Dutch skipper in the VOR in 2008-09 with Telefónica Blue. The 2014-15 edition will be Bekking’s 7th participation.
- The last Dutch VOR campaign was Team Delta Lloyd in 2008-09.
- The first Dutch sailor in the race was Tjerk M. Romke de Vries, aboard Sayula II, winner of the first race in 1973-74.
Dutch Teams in the VOR:
1981-82 Flyer II
1985-86 Philips Innovator and Equity & Law
1989-90 Equity & Law II
2005-06 Team ABN AMRO TWO and Team ABN AMRO ONE
2008-09 Team Delta Lloyd
2014-15 Team Brunel