Peter Burling: Ready for an education
Published on August 10th, 2017
Team Brunel, only committing in June to the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, is making up for its late start by creating a large splash with its latest crew signing: 2016 Olympic gold medallist and 2017 America’s Cup winning helmsman Peter Burling. Here Burling shares his decision to step offshore.
You’ve had an amazing last 12 months. Why the Volvo Ocean Race?
Obviously, I haven’t done much offshore and I only made my decision pretty recently but I’ve always wanted to do this race, and always really struggled to find the time. Now, it seems like good timing and a great opportunity to learn a lot off a pretty experienced team.
What was it about the Dutch entry that appealed to you?
Well, a few of the Team NZ boys are onboard, but also they’ve come into the race pretty late and it seemed like a good opportunity for me to learn a lot off some pretty experienced guys. I’ve done a little bit of ocean racing before but never on a Volvo. I’ve still got a lot to learn and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
What’s your motivation for this race?
Obviously every race you do you want to win and as a team we’re here to win this thing, but we’ve got a lot to learn and for the moment we’re trying to improve as much as we can as a team. . I’ve got a long way to go to improve my skills as an offshore sailor – I’ve done relatively well around the cans in small boat racing but I’m really looking forward to a new challenge.
Your Olympic and America’s Cup teammate, Blair Tuke, is with MAPFRE. Are you ready to now be rivals?
I’ve sailed against Blair a lot in the past, and I think he’s really enjoying his time onboard MAPFRE. I think both of us will learn a lot of skills before the next time we sail together and we’ll take on a challenge again together soon. I know Blair was chatting to the MAPFRE guys during the America’s Cup, but I really wanted to wait until after the cup to see what the future held, and decide afterwards. I just wanted to make sure that everything worked and that I could keep doing a bit of small boat stuff at the same time.
Talk to us about what the Volvo Ocean Race means to New Zealand.
When I was young and the race was coming in and out of New Zealand I’d see it on the news – and more recently seeing the Camper guys in NZ last time there was a Kiwi entry in the race, it was amazing being around Auckland at that time and it just seems like the Auckland stopover is always a massive thing back home. It’s pretty cool, New Zealand’s history in the race, and I’m sure that at some stage there’ll be a New Zealand team once again.
Note: Burling will join Team Brunel for the first time in the Leg Zero race from Plymouth to St Malo.
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