Bouwe Bekking: Focusing on the finish line

Published on December 16th, 2014

With all the drama that occurred during the 5,185 nautical mile, second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, it would be the final ten hours that would ultimately decide the winner. After Team Brunel lost their lead entering the Persian Gulf to Dongfeng Race Team, Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking led his team for a final pass just before the finish.

After the crew had been showered and fed, Bouwe puts on his coach’s hat for this locker room speech….

“I’m so proud of the fact that you never gave up. When we lost first place to the Dongfeng Race Team, it would have been very easy to hang your heads and maybe even lost our podium place. You kept focused, caught up with them and won the leg.

“We’ve learned a lot and now we sail a bit faster than we did on the first leg. Another important point is that there was no stress on board. That was so great to see. It’s crucially important that we stick to that and try to learn from each other. Back each other up in cases when things go wrong by accident.

“During the last leg, there were times when I gave a call for a wrong change of sail. I think that we’ve all done something wrong sometimes. But that’s not so bad. After all, we did more things right than wrong. You learn from it. We were never angry with each other and there was never any tension.

“Everyone can make mistakes. We always kept our chins up and we constantly fought for that coveted top position. On this leg, we also trimmed a lot more actively than in the first leg. Changing the watch rotation system also helped.”

“Things can always be done better. I know that there are many different opinions about trimming the sails, for instance. We should also not focus too much on our opponent’s course. We should certainly not try to sail the same course as them because you never know which wind they have. And at night you can’t see which sail they’re using either.

“So let’s just stick to carrying out our own plans and forget about the competition sometimes. There’s only one goal and that is to sail to the finish as fast as possible.”

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