Peter Burling goes offshore…

You’ve had an amazing last 12 months. Why the Volvo Ocean Race?
I haven’t done much offshore and I only made my decision pretty recently but I’ve always wanted to do this race, and always really struggled to find the time. Now, it seems like good timing and a great opportunity to learn a lot off a pretty experienced team.

What was it about the Dutch entry that appealed to you?
Well, a few of the Team NZ boys are onboard, but also they’ve come into the race pretty late and it seemed like a good opportunity for me to learn a lot off some pretty experienced guys. I’ve done a little bit of ocean racing before but never on a Volvo. I’ve still got a lot to learn and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

What’s your motivation for this race? 
Obviously every race you do you want to win and as a team we’re here to win this thing, but we’ve got a lot to learn and for the moment we’re trying to improve as much as we can as a team. . I’ve got a long way to go to improve my skills as an offshore sailor – I’ve done relatively well around the cans in small boat racing but I’m really looking forward to a new challenge.

Your Olympic and America’s Cup teammate, Blair Tuke, is with MAPFRE. Are you ready to now be rivals?
I’ve sailed against Blair a lot in the past, and I think he’s really enjoying his time onboard MAPFRE. I think both of us will learn a lot of skills before the next time we sail together and we’ll take on a challenge again together soon. I know Blair was chatting to the MAPFRE guys during the America’s Cup, but I really wanted to wait until after the cup to see what the future held, and decide afterwards. I just wanted to make sure that everything worked and that I could keep doing a bit of small boat stuff at the same time.

Talk to us about what the Volvo Ocean Race means to New Zealand.
When I was young and the race was coming in and out of New Zealand I’d see it on the news – and more recently seeing the Camper guys in NZ last time there was a Kiwi entry in the race, it was amazing being around Auckland at that time and it just seems like the Auckland stopover is always a massive thing back home. It’s pretty cool, New Zealand’s history in the race, and I’m sure that at some stage there’ll be a New Zealand team once again.

Note: Burling will join Team Brunel for the first time in the Leg Zero race from Plymouth to St Malo.

The seven teams in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race must compete in four required qualification races, known as Leg Zero, to prepare for the October 22 start in Alicante, Spain.

Two legs combined with scheduled events:
• August 2: The immensely popular Round the Island Race, a 50-nautical mile sprint around the Isle of Wight.
• August 6: The famous 603 nm Rolex Fastnet Race featuring some of the hottest yachting hardware on the planet in a coastal race that has historically served up a hearty dose of danger – and a lot of stressed navigators.

Two legs just for the Volvo Open 65 teams:
• August 10: Plymouth, England to St Malo in France (125 nm)
• August 13: St Malo to Lisbon, Portugal (770 nm)

NOTE: There remains the possibility for an 8th team to still enter. If this occurs, the Notice of Race has a provision to ensure qualification sailing at the direction of the race organizer occurs.

Race details – Race route – Facebook

2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
• Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
• Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
• MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
• Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
• Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
• Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
• Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)

Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.

Story courtesy of US Scuttlebutt.

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