Burl­ing and Tuke aim for record hat­trick in Volvo Ocean Race

Yachting World - - Front Page -

Peter Burl­ing and Blair Tuke, the win­ning skip­per and ‘flight con­troller’ of the Emi­rates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) Amer­ica’s Cup team, have both signed up with Volvo Ocean Race teams for the 2017-18 edi­tion which starts this Oc­to­ber.

Burl­ing has signed as part of Team Brunel while Tuke will sail the full race with MAPFRE. If ei­ther are part of the win­ning team the duo, who are also 2016 Olympic 49er Gold medal­lists, will have scored a rare hat-trick of tak­ing Olympic, Amer­ica’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race ti­tles in con­sec­u­tive years.

Burl­ing, who ad­mit­ted he hadn’t done much off­shore rac­ing in the past, joined the 115ft Nikata, the largest yacht in this year’s Rolex Fast­net Race for his first ex­pe­ri­ence in the clas­sic 600-mile off­shore be­fore an­nounc­ing his Volvo round the world sign­ing.

Tuke raced with MAPFRE in the

Fast­net. MAPFRE went on to win ‘Leg Zero’, the com­pul­sory prac­tice races that in­cluded the Fast­net and a re­turn race from Ply­mouth to Lis­bon.

ETNZ boss Grant Dal­ton, who made his name in the Whit­bread (now Volvo) Round the World Race, told the web­site Stuff that the team had looked into re­turn­ing to the Volvo Ocean Race this year. “In the end it was just too late. I couldn’t make any fi­nal de­ci­sions till af­ter the Cup.

“Get­ting a boat wasn’t the is­sue, there was one avail­able. But putting a team to­gether when we have some pretty big pri­or­i­ties at the mo­ment and ac­quit­ting our­selves to try and win it [the Volvo] when real­is­ti­cally we weren’t go­ing to ... it just be­came the wrong op­tion.”

How­ever, Dal­ton said that there may be an op­tion for the Kiwi squad to race in the next Volvo Ocean Race, sched­uled for 2019-20, if it fits with the Cup cy­cle. ETNZ are due to an­nounce their plans for the Cup in the com­ing month.

This fits with the ever-in­creas­ing con­nec­tions be­tween the two events. Emi­rates Team New Zealand foil and sys­tems de­signer Guil­laume Verdier is cur­rently de­sign­ing the new foil-as­sisted 60ft mono­hulls which will be used for the 2019 edi­tion of the Volvo Ocean Race. The new Volvo 60s are also de­signed to be able to com­pete in the Vendée Globe.

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