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Team AkzoNobel Is First Entry For Next Year's Volvo Ocean Race

5th July 2016
Conrad Keijzer of AkzoNobel with skipper Simeon Tienpont at the announcement of Team AkzoNobel's VOR campaign at Scheveningen Conrad Keijzer of AkzoNobel with skipper Simeon Tienpont at the announcement of Team AkzoNobel's VOR campaign at Scheveningen Credit: David Lichtneker/AkzoNobel

#VOR - Dutch campaign Team AkzoNobel has today (Tuesday 5 July) been announced as the first entry of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race – more than 15 months before the start of the next edition.

Backed by AkzoNobel – a leading global paints and coatings company headquartered in Amsterdam whose portfolio includes well-known brands such as Dulux – the boat will be led by first-time skipper Simeon Tienpont, who will be racing in his third Volvo Ocean Race.

Having made his debut as a rookie onboard ABN AMRO TWO in 2005-06, the Dutchman to the world’s toughest offshore race to join Team Vestas Wind for the final two legs of the 2014-15 edition – and is delighted to be leading his homeland's campaign.

“I’m honoured and incredibly excited to be skipper of Team AkzoNobel,” said Tienpont, 34, who has also been part of two winning America’s Cup teams – BMW Oracle Racing in the 33rd edition, and Oracle Team USA in the 34th edition – in an illustrious sailing career.

“We’re both focused on high performance and share the same passion for success,” he continued. “I can’t wait to start racing.”

Conrad Keijzer of AkzoNobel's executive committee added: “Partnering with Simeon to form Team AkzoNobel is a winning combination – he’s a true leader who puts safety and teamwork first and is both determined and inspirational.”

Meanwhile, VOR chief executive Mark Turner said he was delighted that a Dutch entry was the first to declare for the 2017-18 race.

“It’s exciting that our first team announcement comes early in the cycle, is backed by a global brand, and features a first-time skipper," he said. "Those are three great positives for the Volvo Ocean Race.”

Turner also made note of the recently confirmed route for the next edition, which features "more action, more speed, more tough miles and more host venues".

Team AkzoNobel marks a revival of what's been a winning tradition for Dutch sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race and its predecessor the Whitbread, with Dutch teams having lifted the trophy three times, – in 1977-78, 1981-82 and 2005-06.

Dutch sailing legend Conny van Rietschoten remains the only skipper in the history of the race to have won two editions in a row.

And Tienpont, who in 2013 won the prestigious Conny van Rietschoten trophy, the highest honour in Dutch sailing, is proud to be following in the ‘Flying’ Dutchman’s footsteps.

“The Netherlands are very fond of this race and that’s all because of Conny van Rietschoten,” he said. “He brought the event, then called The Whitbread, to an entirely new level. He built his boat in an excellent Dutch boatyard and recruited professional sailors from all around the world.”

Visiting 11 cities across five continents, the Volvo Ocean Race represents a unique opportunity for AkzoNobel, which has a presence in over 80 countries, to showcase its products before a huge global audience.

“Add in Simeon’s impressive track record and it’s this irresistible combination of experience, tradition, expertise and human endeavour which will prove so vital once the world’s premier offshore race is underway," said Keijzer.

To celebrate the announcement of the Dutch team in The Hague, the Scheveningen pier underwent a colourful makeover, which will remain a remarkable eye-catcher until the race finishes with a grand finale in The Hague in summer 2018.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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