Skipper Simeon Tienpont has named the eight sailors who will join him to represent Team AkzoNobel in the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race, which starts in October.
The diverse international lineup features leading professionals from seven nations and includes four past Volvo Ocean Race winners, who among them have claimed six victories – three-time winner Brad Jackson from New Zealand; Chuny Bermudez from Spain; Joca Signorini from Brazil; and Jules Salter from Great Britain.
Also among the crew are Australian Luke Molloy, Danish match racing skipper Nicolai Sehested, Dutch Olympic silver medallist Annemieke Bes and up-and-coming New Zealand sailor Brad Farrand.
“The crew I have chosen blends maturity and experience with youth and vigor,” said Tienpont, who will be competing in his third Volvo Ocean Race. “We have an incredible depth of experience in the team, with 24 Volvo Ocean races and five Olympic campaigns between us. We also have the instinctive high-performance skills of our two under-30 sailors, Brad and Nicolai, to call on.”
Kiwi sailor Jackson, 49, will be taking on his seventh Volvo Ocean Race as a competitor and has never finished lower than fourth. Bermudez, 47, is one of Spain’s most prolific and popular ocean racers. He has six previous Volvo Ocean Races to his name, including a spectacular victory in the 2014-2015 edition.
Signorini, 39, has sailed the Volvo Ocean Race three times and won in 2008-2009. In the 2014-2015 edition, he worked with Jackson as crew coach at Team SCA. British sailor Salter, 48, is internationally lauded as a top-flight racing navigator and has competed three times in the Volvo Ocean Race. Alongside Jackson and Signorini, he was part of the victorious 2008-2009 Ericsson Racing crew.
Australia’s Luke Molloy and Denmark’s Nicolai Sehested have taken part in one Volvo Ocean Race apiece. Molloy, 37, is one of yachting’s most widely respected all-rounders and constantly in demand on the international racing scene, while Sehested, 27, is best-known as a skipper on the World Match Racing Tour.
Dutch sailor Annemieke Bes and New Zealander Brad Farrand are both first-time Volvo Ocean Race campaigners. Bes, 39, has represented her country at three Olympic Games, including winning silver in the women’s match racing in Beijing in 2008. Twenty-eight-year-old Farrand’s professional campaign experience stems mainly from the fast-paced multi-hull world of the Extreme Sailing Series and the World Match Racing Tour.
The shore-based support team also includes Bryce Ruthenberg from Australia and Dutchman Eduard van Lierde, who have been nominated as reserve sailors to join the crew in the event of sickness or injury.
“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,” Tienpont said. “It’s incomparable with any other sporting event, and we are all proud to be flying the flag for the Netherlands.”
Work is underway at the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard facility in Lisbon, Portugal, to fit out and paint team AkzoNobel’s brand new Volvo Ocean 65 yacht. The boat is scheduled to sail for the first time in early June, with an official christening ceremony planned to take place a few weeks later at the team’s base in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The team AkzoNobel crew then will begin a period of intense on-the-water training before the eight-month round-the-world race officially starts in Alicante, Spain, on Oct. 22.
“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,” AkzoNobel CEO Ton Büchner said. “Simeon has assembled an outstanding mixed crew of real pedigree that is fully committed to winning together, and we are proud to have them on board.”