Burling and Tuke aim for record hattrick in Volvo Ocean Race
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.