Team AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont has selected four former Volvo Ocean Race winners as part of a strong, multinational crew for the 2017-18 campaign. Tienpont named a total of eight sailors from seven nations to the team on Monday – just under five months before the race starts from Alicante on 22 October. New Zealand’s Brad Jackson, Roberto 'Chuny' Bermúdez de Castro from Spain, the Brazilian Joca Signorini and Britain’s Jules Salter are the past winners.
They are joined by Dutch Olympic silver medallist Annemieke Bes, Australia’s Luke Molloy, Danish match racing skipper Nicolai Sehested and New Zealander Brad Farrand.
“The crew I have chosen blends maturity and experience with youth and vigour,” said Tienpont, a two-time America’s Cup winner who competed in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2005-06 with ABN AMRO TWO and 2014-15 on Team Vestas Wind.
“We have an incredible depth of experience in this team, with 24 Volvo Ocean Races and five Olympic campaigns between us. In addition, we have the instinctive high performance skills of our two under-30 sailors, Brad Farrand and Nicolai Sehested, to call on.”
Annemieke Bes is the latest female sailor to be named to a Volvo Ocean Race team following a rule change last year that incentivises mixed crews.
Helmsman/Trimmer Bes has represented the Netherlands at three Olympics and won silver in the Yngling at the 2008 Beijing Games.
While Bes is one of two debutants – the other being Bowman Brad Farrand – Brad Jackson will be taking on his seventh campaign in the latest chapter of a glittering Volvo Ocean Race career.
The 49-year-old Watch Leader has three victories under his belt already – with New Zealand Endeavour back in 1993-94, ABN AMRO ONE in 2005-06 and Ericsson 4 in 2008-09 – and he has never finished lower than fourth.
Watch Leader Joca Signorini and Navigator Jules Salter are also veterans of that winning Ericsson campaign in 2008-09, while Helmsman/Trimmer Chuny Bermúdez comes direct from his success on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the last edition.
Signorini also sailed with Brasil 1 in 2005-06 and Telefónica in 2011-12, while Salter made his debut with Pirates of the Caribbean in 2005-06. Chuny has competed in six previous editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, dating back to Galicia ’93 Pescanova in 1993-94.
Luke Molloy and Nicolai Sehested have taken part in one Volvo Ocean Race apiece and both have experience with skipper Simeon Tienpont. Molloy sailed on the ABN AMRO TWO campaign in 2005-06 while Sehested was on Team Vestas Wind. Both will have the role of Helmsman/Trimmer in 2017-18, with Sehested also named as Boat Captain.
While the team has an international flavour, Tienpont spoke of his huge pride at leading a campaign carrying the Dutch flag of his homeland.
“To lead a Dutch team in the Volvo Ocean Race is a real privilege because this race has such a huge legacy in the Netherlands,” said Tienpont. “The Volvo Ocean Race is incomparable with any other sporting event and we are all proud to be flying the flag for the Netherlands.”
Shore team members Bryce Ruthenberg from Australia and Dutchman Eduard van Lierde have been nominated as reserve sailors. Ruthenberg has been part of two America’s Cup victories with Oracle Team USA, while Van Lierde has represented the Netherlands twice in the Volvo Ocean Race – in 2005-06 with Brunel and in 2008-09 with Delta Lloyd.
Team AkzoNobel’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race is backed by leading global paint and coatings company AkzoNobel.
“The Volvo Ocean Race is a wonderful showcase for the unrivalled quality and high performance of our products, so it’s important this is reflected in the team itself,” said AkzoNobel CEO Ton Büchner. “Simeon has assembled an outstanding crew of real pedigree which is fully committed to winning together and we are proud to have them on board.”
AkzoNobel’s brand new Volvo Ocean 65 is scheduled to sail for the first time in early June, with an official christening ceremony planned to take place soon after at the team’s base in The Hague, the Netherlands. The team AkzoNobel crew will then begin four months of intense on-the-water training, including a number of transatlantic crossings.
A total of four teams have so far been confirmed for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, with more to come in the next few weeks.
Among AkzoNobel’s rivals will be Dongfeng Race Team (skippered by Charles Caudrelier, France), MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández, Spain) and Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright, USA).
The race starts from Alicante on 22 October and will cover 46,000 nautical miles, taking in a total of 12 Host Cities around the world. The finish is in The Hague at the end of June.
Skipper Simeon Tienpont (NED, left) and Annemieke Bes (NED). Helmsman/Trimmer Bes has represented the Netherlands at three Olympics and won a silver medal in the Yngling at the 2008 Beijing Games.