SAN FRANCISCO (#1042) – The AP's esteemed sportswriter Bernie Wilson has just filed a long wire story after interviewing Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking (NED) before today's start of the final leg of the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. This is a MUST READ for VOR fans, as the 11th and final leg gets underway. Excerpt:
Bouwe Bekking has sailed more than 300,000 nautical miles during the last 33 years and circled the globe nearly eight times trying to win the Volvo Ocean Race.
After seven unsuccessful attempts, that elusive victory is just 700 nautical miles away if the Dutch skipper can place Team Brunel ahead of MAPFRE and Dongfeng Race Team on the round-the-world race’s final leg, a sprint from Gothenburg, Sweden, to The Hague, Netherlands.
It would be a popular victory, for sure, if the 55-year-old Bekking sails into his home country ahead of MAPFRE and Dongfeng, the only other teams that can win the bluewater classic.
“Of course it’s exciting that the prospect is there,” Bekking said in a phone interview ahead of the start of Leg 11 on Thursday. “A lot of strange things have happened. The good thing is, I believe we can win. We still have to perform, but if you don’t believe you can win, you shouldn’t start.”
No one has sailed more miles in Volvo Ocean Race history than Bekking, and no edition of the race has come down to a finish like this.
Read Bernie's full report here.
At today's start there was an incident between MAPFRE and Bekking's Team Brunel at the leeward end of the starting line. MAPFRE was "boxed out" and forced to loop back to cross the starting line. This put them at the back of the fleet while Dongfeng led the fleet out of Gothenburg on a beat toward the first mark off Norway. See the incident and more, and enjoy the epic voiceover by Andy "it's all on the line" Green (GBR/USA) backed by muscular music and a dramatic drumbeat....
Despite her horrific start, MAPFRE has quickly, and amazingly, climbed to the head of the pack, but barely ahead of Dongfeng. Brunel, sadly for fans of Mr Bekking, has dropped to fifth according to the VOR's live tracker....
According to VOR media, the fleet is expected to round the turning mark off Aarhus, DEN Friday afternoon, and finish at The Hague, NED on Sunday.