This is how Volvo Ocean Race boss Mark Turner imagined it when he presented the new crew rule for the race: The first team has signed two internationally experienced and strong sailors for the coming edition. Because the new crew regulations prefer teams with female crew members and allow them a numerically greater team strength, the first campaign for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18 with the Dongfeng Race Team is now taking advantage of this opportunity. With Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou, Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier has brought two outstanding sailors on board.
Carolijn Brouwer is one of two women the Dongfeng Race Team has signed for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race
Carolijn Brouwer has already contested two races around the world and at times participated in the Olympic Games alongside Seb Godefroid in the mixed catamaran team when there were no other women in the Olympic discipline tornado. The 43-year-old Dutch woman is one of the most famous sailing athletes on the planet, has taken part in the Olympic Games three times and was voted World Sailor of the Year in 1998. She has a son, Kyle Nico (6), with the Australian catamaran specialist Darren Bundock. Brouwer is fluent in six languages and lives with her family in The Hague. Brouwer has gained a lot of experience as a helmsman in both the Volvo Ocean Race and the Extreme Sailing Series.
The first women in action: The Dongfeng Race Team shows the way to the future of the Volvo Ocean Race
With her, Marie Riou, 25, strengthens the team. The four-time Nacra 17 world champion, whose helmsman Billy Besson had injured his back so badly shortly before the Olympic Games in Rio that the two could no longer live up to their role as top favorites in the battle for medals, was just like Brouwer has been selected after extensive testing in Australia and Portugal.
During the last edition, Carolijn Brouwer worked as a helmsman and security officer for the women's team SC
Charles Caudrelier is convinced that he has found the two right sailors for his team: "I chose Carolijn because she often beat us as helmswoman for SC in the inshore races at the last Volvo Ocean Race. We all know that she is a strong one Helmswoman is. And she has a great Olympic past that I have a lot of respect for. That Olympic past made her a very quick helmswoman who knows how to position a boat."
Good prospects for Dutch rider Carolijn Brouwer: She starts for the Dongfeng Race Team, with whom she shares a common goal: victory in the most important team race around the world
For a similar reason, Caudrelier's decision was made in favor of Marie Riou: the Frenchwoman also brings many years of Olympic training with her. "She is a very good Olympic sailor with tons of experience. She also grew up in Brittany and in the offshore environment. She is strong and - a very important quality for me - brings a good spirit to the team. She is used to sailing with men. For her, the Volvo Ocean Race is a dream. And she wants to win it - like Carolijn!"
Ambitious, self-confident and now before the start of the race of her life: The French Marie Riou was signed by the Dongfeng Race Team
The new crew regulations limit all-male teams to seven sailors, with whom the boats can hardly be mastered at a top level under constant pressure and compared to the competition. A seven-man crew can take up to two women on board. It was this combination that seemed most likely right from the start. A team with five men and five women would also be possible. Or a crew with eleven women.
Brouwer had already admired the Dongeng Race Team as a competitor in the last race. "I am very proud to be part of this team. One of the reasons for this is the strong team spirit that prevails in this team. The Volvo Ocean Race is unique. It is the ultimate physical and mental challenge because you are on a team act and have to get the best out of everyone. " Marie Riou can hardly wait for her performance either: "I've wanted to take part in this race since I was ten years old."
So far, with the Dongfeng Race Team under the Chinese flag and with a high proportion of French sailors as well as the Dutch team AkzoNobel and the Spanish team Mapfre, only three campaigns have officially declared their intention to start. Further participants are to be introduced in the coming months. The Volvo Ocean Race starts in Alicante on October 22nd.