Thoughts from Abby Ehler of Team Brunel

Published on May 14th, 2018

Team Brunel’s Abby Ehler is preparing to set off on the next leg of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, which resumes on May 20 from Newport, RI, to the United Kingdom stopover in Cardiff. Rob Kothe checks in with Abby for Yachts and Yachting.


Lymington, England sailor Abby Ehler is sailing in her third Volvo Ocean Race. She was the boat captain and bowman on Amer Sports Too in 2001-02 under her maiden name of Seager. She sailed aboard SCA in the 2014-15 Volvo race and now the 42-year-old is the boat captain in this 2017-18 VOR aboard Team Brunel. Brunel has surged in the last two legs; the boat was just 62 seconds off back to back leg wins.

“The young Olympic and America’s Cup sailors have brought a very different dynamic to Brunel. There is a level of intensity that is obvious from coming within a Cup campaign where every detail and every percentile is of extreme importance.

“While the learning curve is huge amongst the youngsters, they are just so eager to learn, to make the boat go faster and you often find they are looking for different ways of doing things which perhaps in the typical world of offshore sailing you wouldn’t have thought of.

“It definitely brings a very new, very positive dynamic which I think is equally balanced by the experience of Bouwe and Capey and perhaps myself who have been in situations before that these guys haven’t.

“Having two women on each of the Volvo boats is a huge benefit to women in sailing. To be able to balance bringing in young female sailors or indeed sailors that have got previous Volvo experience adding to a make-up of a team, you take Brunel for example sailing with the likes of Bouwe and Capey who have racked up 15 races between them, it has just been an amazing learning experience and something you can’t gain at present by being an all-female team.” – Full report


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Overall Results (after 8 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 53 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 50
3. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 42
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 36
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 28
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 27
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 22

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.

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