With the 12th edition on the Volvo Ocean Race starting in October this year, MainSail lifts the lid on the career of Dutch master Bouwe Bekking as he prepares for his record equalling 7th tilt at the title. Shirley Robertson travels to his home to find out what drives the man and is on hand to record his first impressions of the new one design boats that will revolutionise the race.
The Volvo Ocean Race is undergoing something of an overhaul. A new one design boat will be used for each of the next two editions as race organisers strive to level the playing field and make the race more affordable, accessible and competitive. But while organisers revolutionise the competition some things remain the same. Bouwe Bekking is back for a record equalling 7th race. He was just 21 years of age when he secured a place on Phillips Innovator for the 1985 Whitbread Round the World race. 29 years later he's set to skipper Team Brunel in the 2014/15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Bouwe has never won the race. First place has thus far alluded him. In 2005 he was skipper of the doomed Movistar yacht that ultimately sunk in the North Atlantic. Bouwe decision to abandon ship cost him the title but saved the lives of his crew. Years later he has no regrets and prepares for another 9 months at sea in the most gruelling yacht race on the planet. What motivates him to carry on? Unfinished business? And what does his family make of it all? We examine the mind of an ocean racer and preview the new format Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15.