Bouwe Bekking talks about Telefonica's VOR campaign
[Source: Equipo Telefonica] Bouwe Bekking (Deventer, Holland, 17/06/1963) is one of the ‘brains’ behind the ambitious project that is the Telefónica team. Joining the Spanish team for the second time, Bouwe Bekking’s five previous participations make him one of the most experienced sailors in this edition of the race.
- One team, two boats and two shipyards: Why the decision to build “Telefónica blue” and “Telefónica black” in different places?
Initially the plan was to build only one new boat and to use the former Brasil 1 for going around the world, but then fortunately Pedro Campos found the funding to build two new boats. Unfortunately, by the time we decided to build the boats, the yard in Alginet didn’t have enough space available, as they already had new bookings, so we had to find a new space and that is why we went to Southern Ocean Marine in New Zealand.
- The question lots of people will ask is: ‘is there any difference between the “Telefónica blue” and “Telefónica black” builds?
The boats are exactly equal, using the same lines. The only difference is in slightly different materials, but that’s just because by the time we started building the boat in New Zealand there was only one supplier available at that stage. That’s the only difference, just different materials.
- What differences can you see between the previous version of the Volvo Open 70 and the new Telefónica boats?
I think the big difference is, of course, that they did a lot of homework on these boats. When decided that Farr Yacht Design was going to work exclusively for us we had ten months of preparation, so we did a lot of tank-testing, we did a lot of research, and last time that was not the case. Last time we only had 2-3 months to do research and then we basically started building. This time we did a lot of homework and I think that is one of the first big differences. We came up very fast to shape, and we learnt from the last race that we maybe lacked a bit of stability. This time we have really powerful boats.
- What do you think of the new course, and what do you think the hardest part will be?
I think the hardest part will probably be the heat, because we are sailing around the Equator a lot and there will be temperatures of up to 50-60 degrees inside of the boat. The rest of it will be more or less the same as before. Everybody will have to sail in light areas, so in that sense there’s not much difference, but I think the heat will be really hard on our bodies.
- This will be your sixth Volvo Ocean Race, a race that includes extreme conditions and some incredibly tough situations, but here you are again… What makes you come back for more?
What I really like about the Volvo Ocean race is the teamwork. You are with just nine other guys and you’re fighting the elements. When you put a good team together it can mean great success. One of my main reasons for doing this is because it’s not just about myself. I’m not going to be successful if I don’t have a good team, and that’s what I really like about this. That’s the first thing, but of course there’s the sailing, which is just fantastic. You can’t get any better sailing than this; days and days sailing at 20-25 knots… Where else can you get it? The only race you can do it is in the Volvo Ocean Race!
-What’s your best memory from all the races you’ve sailed in?
I remember in the last race, a couple of days before Cape Horn we had 30-35 knots of breeze and there was a clear sky and a full moon. Then, if you are sailing in 6-7 metre-high waves, fully under control. It can’t get much better. It’s a great thing to experience, but it’s also one of the harder things to bring to the public. That’s just one of the reasons you come back all the time.