Second place winner of leg 8 Newport, Rhode Island

No one has sailed more miles in the Volvo Ocean Race than Team Brunel skipper Bekking, who made his first appearance as a crew member on Philips Innovator back in 1985-86.

 

More than 30 years on, and now aged 54, Bekking’s Volvo Ocean Race obsession has only intensified – and he’s still chasing an elusive first win.

 

Team backers include Brunel, the Dutch-based global project management, recruitment and Consultancy Company, and its founder Jan Brand. Brunel are Volvo Ocean Race veterans themselves, having had their first involvement in 1997-98, and they’re the fourth major sponsor to return for a second consecutive edition in 2017-18, alongside MAPFRE, Dongfeng and Vestas.

 

Skipper: Bouwe Bekking

Date of Birth: June 17, 1963

In: Deventer, The Netherlands

Nationality: Dutch

Legs sailed in this edition: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7

In-Port Races: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí

Something about him that you don’t know: Bouwe loves all things on ice and snow – speed skating, ice sailing and skiing.

Who he is: Bouwe returns to the race which has been his life’s obsession for 30 years with an eighth attempt at winning the trophy in 2017-18. Having twice finished runner-up and skippered two campaigns, he is more eager than ever to win – and with a Dutch team.

 

Previous Volvo Ocean Races:

2014-15 Team Brunel

2008-09 Telefónica Blue

2005-06 movistar

2001-02 Amer Sports One

1997-98 Merit Cup

1993-94 Winston

1985-86 Philips Innovator

 

Crew member:  Abby Ehler

In: Plymouth, UK

Nationality: British

Legs sailed in this edition: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7

In-Port Races: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Itajaí

Something about her that you don’t know: Abby is into cycling and swimming and reads lots of triathlon magazines.

Who she is: Abby has direct experience of the Volvo Ocean Race, having been boat captain and bowman on Amer Sports Too in 2001-02 under her maiden name of Seager. Most recently, she has been working with the America’s Cup on shoreside logistics, while still staying active as a sailor. Her know-how and experience aroudn the Volvo Ocean 65 will be vital for Bekking’s the campaign.

Previous Volvo Ocean Race:

2014-15 Team SCA

2001-02 Amer Sports Too

 

Navigator: Andrew Cape

Date of birth: 28 June 1962

In: Melbourne, Australia

Nationality: Australian

Legs sailed in this edition: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7

In-Port Races: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Auckland, Itajaí

 

Something about him that you don’t know: Capey can go without sleeping for 24 hours if he is tackling a tricky weather situation. And he doesn’t go anywhere without his case full of electronic equipment supporting his navigator role.

 

Who he is: Six-time veteran Capey first took part in the race in 1993-94 – and has returned for a further five editions since then, including two under Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking. He’s one of the most respected navigators in the sport, having tasted success in many of sailing’s top events, including the triumph of winning the America’s Cup with Alinghi in 2003 and taking second in the double-handed Barcelona World Race in 2007.

 

Previous Volvo Ocean Races:

2014-15 Team Brunel

2011-12 Team Telefónica

2008-09 PUMA Ocean Racing

2005-06 movistar

1997-98 Toshiba

1993-94 Tokio

 

Helmsman:  Louis Balcaen

In: Belgium

Nationality: Belgian

Legs sailed in this edition: 3, 6

In-Port Races: Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Itajaí

Who he is: Started sailing when he was six and went from dinghy sailing to bigger boats – that’s how he met Bekking. Born in the Flemish part of Belgium, Louis was sailing full time when he joined Team Brunel in January 2014.

Previous Volvo Ocean Races:

2014-15 Team Brunel

 

Helmsman and Trimmer: Peter Burling

Date of birth: January 1, 1991

In: Tauranga, New Zealand

Nationality: New Zealand

Legs sailed in this edition: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7

In-Port Races: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí

Something about him that you don’t know: Before choosing sailing as his professional career path, Peter studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Auckland.

Who he is: Kiwi hero Burling comes into the Volvo Ocean Race fresh from a whirlwind 12 months in which he’s won Olympic gold and the America’s Cup as the driver on Emirates Team New Zealand. He now lines up against long-term sailing partner Blair Tuke as the pair battle it out to become the first sailor to win the sport’s Triple Crown.

 

Trimmer: Kyle Langford

Date of Birth: 30 June 1989

In: Newcastle, Australia

Nationality: Australian

Legs sailed in this edition: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7

In-Port Races: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí

Something about him that you don’t know: Growing up, Langford gave himself no other option but to pursue a career in the sailing world. No back up plan, just a vision and passion to spend his life on the sea.

Who is he: At the age of 28, Langford has already won the RC44 World Championships, participated in two America’s Cup campaigns as part of Team Oracle USA, and now has his eyes set on winning the Volvo Ocean Race trophy. He calls competing in the race a ‘dream come true’.

 

Helmsman, watch captain and trimmer: Carlo Huisman

Date of birth: January 1, 1991

In: Friesland, The Netherlands

Nationality: Dutch

Legs sailed in this edition: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6

In-Port Races: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland

Something about him that you don’t know: Before stepping onto a Volvo Ocean 65, Carlo’s sailing career started on the Frisian lakes in a flatboat, a typical old Dutch sailing boat. Here he found his love and passion for the open water.

Who he is: Carlo joins the race fresh from success as part of the winning Emirates Team New Zealand squad in the 2017 edition of the America’s Cup, where he was the youngest sailor in the Kiwi campaign. Previously, he made a name for himself on the RC44 circuit – and taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race is a dream come true for him.

 

Helmsman, Watch Captain and Trimmer: Alberto Bolzan

Date of birth: May 14, 1982

In: Gorizia, Italy

Nationality: Italian

Legs sailed in this edition: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7

In-Port Races: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí

Something about him that you don’t know: He’s a four-time World Champion, four-time European Champion and four-time winner of the Giro d’Italia.

Who he is: One of Italy’s top sailors, Alberto is widely considered to be one of the best drivers in the world – and returns to the Volvo Ocean Race for a second consecutive edition following a debut onboard Team Alvimedica in 2014-15.

Previous Volvo Ocean Race:

2014-15 Team Alvimedica

 

Crew member: Nina Curtis

Date of Birth: January 24, 1988

In: Sydney, Australia

 

Nationality: Australian

In-Port Races: Auckland

Something about her that you don’t know: Nina has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Movement from the University of Technology, Sydney after attending from 2006 to 2008.

Who she is: An Olympic silver medalist, Nina has been sailing since she was able to walk, after being exposed to the sport by her parents as a toddler. She began racing at the age of 8, and by 15 she was competing for the Australian national sailing team. She won the Australian Female Sailor of the Year award in 2010.

 

Trimmer: Annie Lush

Date of birth: 11 April 1980

In: Poole, United Kingdom

Nationality: British

Legs sailed in this edition: 1, 2, 3
In-Port Races: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town

Something about her that you don’t know: After sailing, Annie has two main loves in her life. One is her little yellow car, and the other is her favourite book, ‘Emma’, written by Jane Austen.

Who she is: An Olympic match racer who competed at London 2012 in the Elliott 6m class, Annie has competed in the Women’s Match Race championships three times in 2004, 2005, 2010, and topped the ISAF World Ranking in 2010. This year, Annie will face a longer and tougher race track as she competes in the Volvo Ocean Race for a second time following her debut as part of the all-female Team SCA in 2014-15.

Previous Volvo Ocean Races:
2014-15 Team SCA

 

Crew member: Sally Barkow

Date of Birth: July 10, 1980:

In: Nashota, Wisconsin, United States

Nationality: American

Legs sailed in this edition: 4, 6
In-Port Races: Hong Kong, Guangzhou

Something about here that you don’t know: Sally is one of those skilled match racers. She competed for the US team in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and was US Rolex Yachtswomen of the year in 2005 and 2007.

Who he is: Sally is known as an excellent helmsman. The past few years she was helming The Magenta project. The Magenta Project was set up following the conclusion of Team SCA, the female team competing in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.

Previous Volvo Ocean Races:
214-15 Team SCA

 

Boat Captain: Jens Dolmer

Date of Birth: May 23, 1969

In: Skanderborg, Denmark

Nationality: Danish

Legs sailed in this edition: Leg 4

Something about him that you don’t know: On board he is known for his engineering skills, this was the reason he got nicknamed “MacGyver” during the last edition.

Who he is: An America’s Cup veteran and a winner of the Maxi Worlds, the Danish sailor has been involved in most of Bouwe’s campaigns. He was on board Team Brunel in the previous edition and he had sailed a lot with the team during Leg 0 in preparation towards this edition. It will be his third Volvo Ocean Race.

Previous Volvo Ocean Race:
2014-15 Team Brunel
2008-09 Ericsson 3

 

Bowman: Juanpa Marcos

Date of birth: 28 December 1981

In: Argentina

Something about him that you don’t know: Juanpa is a talented musician and his guitar is one of his most prized possessions.

Who he is: Juanpa competes in his first Volvo Ocean Race after racing many classes of boat. In 2017, he won the J Class regatta onboard the Dutch flagged Lionheart.

 

Crew member: Thomas Rouxel

Date of Birth: 26 November 1982

In: Clohars Carnet, France

Nationality: French

Legs Sailed in this edition: Leg 7
In-Port Races: Auckland

Something about him that you don’t know: He first met one of his best friends, Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier, when they were rookie sailors competing in a transatlantic race. Halfway through, Thomas was separated from the fleet, and left isolated in the Atlantic Ocean. He spotted Charles pass him, and followed him to the finish line – only to overtake him in the final moments of the race. The duo have been close friends ever since.

Who he is: Thomas is an introverted yet determined character, with a wicked sense of humour. He has been sailing his whole life, excelling in both inshore and offshore racing, which makes him a valuable and versatile team member. He raced in 2014-15 onboard Dongfeng Race Team.

Previous Volvo Ocean Races:
2014-15 Dongfeng Race Team

 

Helmsman/Trimmer: Rome Kirby

Date of Birth: June 6, 1989

In: Newport, Rhode Island, United States

Nationality: American

Legs sailed in this edition: Leg 4

Something about him that you don’t know: Professional sailing is in Kirby’s blood. His father Jerry Kirby had a distinguished career as a professional sailor in the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.

Who he is: He will serve as a helmsman and sail trimmer for the team and is the team’s fifth under 30-sailor. He won the 34th America’s Cup in 2013 with Oracle Team USA and last sailed the Volvo Ocean Race in 2011-12 on Puma Ocean Racing, finishing third.

Previous Volvo Ocean Races:
2011-12 PUMA Ocean Racing

 

Crew member: Sam Newton

Date of Birth: March 11, 1986

In: Australia

Nationality: Australian

Legs sailed in this edition: Leg 4

Who he is: Sam Newton was part of the Oracle Team USA since 2011 and won the 34th America’s Cup in 2013. Newton grew up close to Sydney harbor. He won titles in many different classes, including six wins at the JJ Giltinan Trophy, the most important regatta for the spectacular 18-foot skiffs.

 

Helmsman, Watch captain and Trimmer: Maciel Cicchetti

Date of birth: 24 September 1973

In: Argentina

Nationality: Argentinian

Legs sailed in this edition: 1, 2
In-Port Races: Alicante, Lisbon

Something about him that you don’t know: Although he was born in Argentina, ‘Cicco’ has been living and working in Italy for a long time – and admits that he feels as much Italian as he does Argentinian.

Who he is: With a wealth of experience across Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup campaigns, Cicchetti returns to round-the-world racing for a third attempt at the trophy having previously competed in 2008-09 and 2014-15. A world Champion in the RC44 sailing class and a highly sort after trimmer in the TP52’s, he offers invaluable top-level racing experience to Team Brunel.

Previous Volvo Ocean Race:
2008-09 Telefonica
2014-15 Team Vestas Wind