New Zealand sailing hero Peter Burling, who won the 35th America’s Cup for New Zealand in a hotly contested final against the USA team in Bermuda in June this year, is stepping up to take on the Volvo Ocean Race.
With two Olympic medals in hand already (gold in Rio 2016 and silver in London 2012), the America’s Cup win elevated Burling to a national sporting hero.
Now Burling, aged 26, will race in the toughest test of a team in professional sport, the Volvo Ocean Race. This will be a totally different challenge for Burling – a daunting switch from competing in America’s Cup races that last just 20 minutes to racing 24/7, weeks on end, across the oceans. In total, the Volvo Ocean Race covers 45,000 nautical miles, which is just over 83,000 kms, around the world, in a competition lasting eight months.
Burling is joining Team Brunel, skippered by Dutch sailing legend, Bouwe Bekking who is looking for a victory that has eluded him so far in seven previous participations in the race.
In a twist of fate, his Olympic partner and America’s Cup crewmate Blair Tuke is racing on another Volvo Ocean Race entry, the Spanish team MAPFRE, making them competitors as opposed to team mates this time.
Burling steps on board Team Brunel for the first time today (Thursday) as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet race from Plymouth (UK) to Saint-Malo (France) in Leg Zero, a qualifier for the race itself.