© Yann Riou/Volvo AB
Race legend joins young Dutch effort in the VO65s
Team JAJO – the Netherlands VO65 entry in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint – has announced the addition of the legendary Dutch around-the-world racer Bouwe Bekking as watch captain.
Bekking – a veteran of eight editions of The Ocean Race – joins Team JAJO’s core crew of five Dutch under-30 sailors led by skipper Jelmer van Beek for the new three stage event.
“We are delighted that we have been able to add such an experienced sailor to our team for Stage 1,” commented van Beek who knows Bekking well having worked with him previously. “With Bouwe we bring a lot of experience on board. It’s someone who knows the boat as one of the best.”
Up to six teams are expected to compete for The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup over the opening, penultimate, and final leg of the The Ocean Race 2022-23 around the world course.
Stage 1 starts on January 15, 2023 and takes the fleet of identical high-performance 65-foot yachts from Alicante, Spain to Mindelo, on the north Atlantic Cape Verde archipelago. The second stage starts on June 8 and sees the VO65s race from Aarhus, Denmark to The Hague in the Netherlands, via a flyby of Kiel.Sailing.City. On the third and final section starting on June 15, the VO65 crews will race from The Hague back into the Mediterranean to Genova, Italy.
As well as the open ocean legs the VO65 teams will also compete in a mini in-port race series with heats taking place in Alicante, Aarhus, and Genova.
“The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup gives the VO65 teams and crews the opportunity to experience The Ocean Race,'' Bekking commented.
“It’s an ideal opportunity to perform and present yourself to the public and sponsors under pressure. The fact that I get to do that together with this young generation of mainly Dutch sailors is something special and makes it nice.”
Bekking said he found the youthful spirit of the Team JAJO campaign appealing and was looking forward to collaborating with skipper van Beek and navigator Max Deckers – both of whom are under 30 years of age.
“Jelmer will take the tactical and strategic decisions together with Max,” he clarified. “If asked, I will give them points and ideas that they can consider.”
The Team JAJO crew is in Alicante preparing for the first in-port race on January 7, 2023 and the start of Leg 1 a week later. The team is also using this training period to run crew trials for the remaining four spots and plans to announce its full lineup before Christmas.
Current Team JAJO crew list
Jelmer van Beek (NED) – skipper
Max Deckers (NED) – navigator
Bouwe Bekking (NED) – watch leader
Rutger Vos (NED) – boat captain
Laura Van Veen (NED) – medic
Jorden van Rooijen (NED) – bowman