Volvo Ocean Race veterans Brunel return for their fourth shot at victory – and at the helm is none other than Dutch race hero Bouwe Bekking.
No-one has sailed more miles in the Volvo Ocean Race than Bekking, who made his debut more than 30 years ago with Philips Innovator in 1985-86. Now 54, the charismatic Bekking is back for an incredible eighth Volvo Ocean Race with a clear goal – to win, for the first time.
He's twice finished in the runner-up position but the coveted top spot has so far proved elusive. To give the team its best shot at glory, Bekking has hand-picked a crew that blends Volvo Ocean Race legends with youthful talent.
Race fans won't be surprised to hear that routemaster Andrew 'Capey' Cape returns to the nav station, having twice before performed the role for Bekking. Brits Abby Ehler and Annie Lush bring a wealth of experience while Argentinian Maciel Cicchetti slots into the role of watch captain for his third Volvo Ocean Race.
Italian Alberto Bolzan returns for a second straight edition after making his debut with Team Alvimedica in 2014-15, and he's joined by Argentina's Juanpa Marcos.
Two of Bekking's biggest signings come in the form of America's Cup stars Peter Burling, Carlo Huismsn and Kyle Langford, formerly of winners Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA outfits respectively. Expert helmsman Burling will go head to head with his Olympic sailing partner and fellow ETNZ crewmate Blair Tuke, who's joined Spanish team MAPFRE.
The team showed they already have plenty of pace and skill, finishing Leg Zero on the podium just behind MAPFRE and Dongfeng Race Team.
Bekking is typically blunt about his desire to win the Volvo Ocean Race, especially with a Dutch-flagged crew, however Simeon Tienpont's team AkzoNobel, also from The Netherlands, are after the same accolade. With the race set to finish in The Hague in June 2018, an all-out battle for affections of the home crowd – and a place atop the Volvo Ocean Race podium – is guaranteed.