All Volvo Ocean Race Teams Embrace Mixed Rule
Published on September 29th, 2017
When asked whether Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag would take advantage of the new rule in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race that encouraged mixed crew, skipper David Witt was not seeing the benefit.
“I’ve made my decision – we’re going with seven guys,” said Witt in July.”I just don’t think the rule is a good fit, and I don’t think the dynamic will work. It’s hard enough to win the race, the last thing we need is to be part of a social experiment.
The rule limited teams to seven if all male, one fewer than in 2014-15, and would give mixed teams a significant numerical advantage.
But since Witt made that July statement, he’s done some sailing on the Volvo Ocean 65 which has presumably changed his mind as the team has announced Dutch Olympic medallist, Annemieke Bes, is now on the team.
Under race rules, a mixed crew can include up to an additional two female sailors, for a total of eight or nine.
Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag had been the only team, out of the seven competitors, to not have considered female sailors. The announcement of Bes now means every Volvo Ocean Race team has female sailors fully integrated into their crew line up.
Bes was, until recently, part of team AkzoNobel, the Dutch entry in the race skippered by Simeon Tienpont, but recently made the switch to Witt’s team.
“I’ve known David from sailing back in Sydney and it’s always good fun to sail with him,” said Bes. “The team are a great bunch of guys and we are working hard making final preparations ready for the October start date.”
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