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Team Brunel’s crew pool grows fast

January 24, 2014 by robert in Featured, NL Excel, Sail with 0 Comments

AMSTERDAM _ Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking is making good tracks in assembling a crew pool for his 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race campaign. It now has 11 candidates, including Bekking and an onboard reporter.

Team Brunel had already selected sailors Gerd-Jan Poortman (Netherlands), Jens Dolmer (Denmark) and Pablo Arrarte (Spain) for its 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. On Jan. 22, Bekking named 7 more sailors.

Three _ Robert Stanjek (Germany) and Dutchmen Timo Hagoort and Gregor Vlasblom _ will fly to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands to start training. Stanjek, German Sailor of 2012, looks back on a rich Olympic career in the Star class, participated in the Nord Stream Race and skippered in the Fastnet. Hagoort has sailed in the Finn class and participated in the Trans-Atlantic Ocean Race. Vlasblom has been active the Farr-40, Swan-45, Melges-32 and the J-Class and has won the North Sea Regatta more than once.

Three others _ Pieter-Jan Postma (Netherlands), Rokas Milevicius (Lithuania) and Louis Balcaen (Belgium) _ will sail Team Brunel’s VO-65 from Southampton to the Canary Islands. “They have taken the first important step,” says Bekking. “How will they perform on board, develop and work in a team? Time will tell.”

Postma is a two-time Olympic silver winner in the Finn class. Milevicius has done Volvo Open-60 races in Europe and the 2012 Sydney-Hobart.  Louis Balcaen has raced in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the Rolex Fastnet and in world championships in the Swan-45 and Melges-24.

Bekking (photo) also picked an onboard reporter: In the past decade, Feike Essink is an avid sailor and an experienced video cameraman, editor and producer .”His knowledge and enthusiasm are impressive so far, but we want to see whether he performs on board,” says Bekking.

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