ALICANTE, ESP – Peter Burling is joining his Emirates Team New Zealand mate Blair Tuke in pursuit of history via the Volvo Ocean Race. Burling has joined skipper Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel in the VOR, which is in the midst of its “Leg Zero” prologue.
If Team Brunel wins the bluewater classic, the 26-year-old Burling would become the first sailor in history to win the “Triple Crown” of an Olympic gold medal, the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.
Of course, Tuke can claim that remarkable achievement if MAPFRE wins the VOR, which starts from Alicante, ESP, on Oct. 22. Tuke joined MAPFRE in mid-July.
The only other sailor who has come close is San Francisco’s John Kostecki, who won the AC and VOR along with an Olympic silver medal (1988, Korea, Soling Class).
Burling and Tuke teamed up to win the gold medal in the 49er class at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics a year ago. In late June, with Burling at the helm and Tuke trimming the foils and providing pedal power along with three other “cyclors,’’ Emirates Team New Zealand shocked Oracle Team USA to win the America’s Cup. Burling and Tuke also won the silver medal at the London Games in 2012.
“It’s going to be awesome racing against Tukey,’’ Burling said. “We have huge respect for each other’s skill and talent and we are each other's biggest supporters. We are both in a position to gain amazing experience to bring to our future sailing goals. I look forward to sharing a few stories and beers with him in port.”
Citing Team Brunel and Bekking’s long history with the Volvo Ocean Race, Burling added: “It's an honor to be part of this talented team and learn from the breadth of experience on board.”
The VOR will be Burling’s first competitive offshore race.
"Round the world ocean racing has always excited me and I'm stoked to be part of Team Brunel on this epic edition,’’ he said. “I can't wait to be thrown into the challenge of extreme offshore racing and broaden my skills and sailing experience."
New Zealanders have always been a big part of the VOR. Auckland will host a stopover in March.
“It’s going to be pretty special to be on board to see Auckland, the City of Sails, welcome an epic race like the Volvo Ocean Race,’’ Burling said. “Having just toured NZ with the America's Cup, I got to witness how much Kiwis really do love sailing and know they will really get behind the Volvo Ocean Race coming to town.”
Team Brunel's crew also includes Carlo Huisman (NED), who was on ETNZ's sailing team, and Kyle Langford (AUS), who was Oracle Team USA’s wing trimmer in the last two America’s Cups.
"I see Peter as an exponent of the new talented generation,'' Bekking said. "The great thing is that he has proven himself in spite of his young age. I’m glad that we can add him to the team, especially with his experience in Olympic sailing and the America’s Cup. With these three: Peter, Carlo and Kyle, we have a strong representation of under-30 sailors in our team.”
After hoisting the America's Cup, Peter Burling will now chase victory in the Volvo Ocean Race with Team Brunel.