Peter Burling joins Volvo Ocean Race
Published on August 10th, 2017
(August 10, 2017) – Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winning helmsman Peter Burling is joining Team Brunel for the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The signing of the world’s most in-demand sailor is a major coup for Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking – and sets up what should be a compelling rivalry with Burling’s long-term sailing partner Blair Tuke, who is competing with Spanish team MAPFRE.
Together, Burling and Tuke carried the flag for New Zealand at the 2016 Olympics and came home from Rio with a gold medal in the 49er.
The pair followed up that success by playing influential roles in Emirates Team New Zealand’s victory in the America’s Cup earlier this year.
“Team Brunel and Bouwe both have a long history with the Volvo Ocean Race,” said Peter. “It’s an honour to be part of this talented team and learn from the breadth of experience on board.
“Round the world ocean racing has always excited me and I’m stoked to be part of Team Brunel on this epic edition. I can’t wait to be thrown into the challenge of extreme offshore racing and broaden my skills and sailing experience.”
Still only 26, Burling is the youngest winning helmsman in America’s Cup history.
Either Burling or Tuke could become the first sailor to complete the Triple Crown of sailing’s major events. To date, no one has won an Olympic gold medal medal, the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race. Both teams will start among the favourites.
Burling continued: “It’s going to be awesome racing against Tukey! We have huge respect for each others skill and talent and we are each other’s biggest supporters. We are both in a position to gain amazing experience to bring to our future sailing goals. I look forward to sharing a few stories and beers with him in every Host City.”
Team Brunel were runners-up in 2014-15 under Bekking and have hit the ground running in their preparations for the upcoming race. Burling is the seventh sailor to be announced for the Dutch team following the signings of America’s Cup sailors Carlo Huisman (NED) and Kyle Langford (AUS), Argentinian Juanpa Marcos, and Volvo Ocean Race veterans Alberto Bolzan (ITA) and Maciel Cicchetti (ARG/ITA) by skipper Bouwe Bekking (NED).
“Team Brunel is on track for the start in Alicante – we will use the rest of this Leg Zero to sail in different compositions and prepare ourselves,” said Bekking. “At the same time we’re still working hard to prepare and organise everything as well as possible.”
Despite only announcing their campaign at the end of June they have shown the value of recent experience by taking podium finishes in each of the two stages so far in the Leg Zero series of qualifiers.
Burling has joined Brunel at the finish line of the Fastnet and will be on board for the third stage of Leg Zero qualifying, a short run from Plymouth to Saint-Malo in France, starting today.
Bekking continued: “I see Peter as an exponent of the new talented generation. The great thing is that he has proven himself in spite of his young age. I’m glad that we can add him to the team, especially with his experience in Olympic sailing and the America’s Cup.”
“It’s going to be pretty special to be on board to see Auckland, the City of Sails, welcome an epic race like the Volvo Ocean Race,” added Burling.
“Having just toured NZ with the America’s Cup I got to witness how much kiwis really do love sailing and know they will really get behind the Volvo Ocean Race coming to town.”
The seven teams in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race must compete in four required qualification races, known as Leg Zero, to prepare for the October 22 start in Alicante, Spain.
Two legs combined with scheduled events:
• August 2: The immensely popular Round the Island Race, a 50-nautical mile sprint around the Isle of Wight.
• August 6: The famous 603 nm Rolex Fastnet Race featuring some of the hottest yachting hardware on the planet in a coastal race that has historically served up a hearty dose of danger – and a lot of stressed navigators.
Two legs just for the Volvo Open 65 teams:
• August 10: Plymouth, England to St Malo in France (125 nm)
• August 13: St Malo to Lisbon, Portugal (770 nm)
NOTE: There remains the possibility for an 8th team to still enter. If this occurs, the Notice of Race has a provision to ensure qualification sailing at the direction of the race organizer occurs.
2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
• Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
• Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
• MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
• Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
• Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
• Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
• Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)
Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.
Source: Volvo Ocean Race