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RORC Transatlantic Race: Childhood 1 wins the International Maxi Association Trophy

by Louay Habib 5 Dec 2019 07:38 PST 5 December 2019
Bouwe Bekking, Skipper of VO65 Childhood 1 receives the International Maxi Association Trophy for monohull line honours from IMA Secretary General, Andrew McIrvine after completing the RORC Transatlantic Race in Grenada with his young crew © RORC / Arthur Daniel

Swedish VO65 Childhood 1, skippered by Bouwe Bekking, has taken Line Honours in the 2019 RORC Transatlantic Race.

Childhood 1 crossed the finish line outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada in an elapsed time of 11 days 11 hours 34 mins 49 secs. The International Maxi Association Secretary General, Andrew McIrvine, presented Bouwe Bekking and the team with the IMA Trophy for Monohull Line Honours.

With cold beers and big cheers, Childhood 1 was welcomed by Marina Manager, Charlotte Bonin and the team at Port Louis Marina. Nikoyan Roberts presented a basket of Grenadian goods on behalf of the Grenada Tourism Authority.

The rhumb line for the race course from Marina Lanzarote to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina is approximately 2,900nm. However the optimum route taken by Childhood 1 took the team far south, racking up nearly 4,000nm in the race. The majority of the crew were young sailors with ambition to take part in The Ocean Race 2021-22.

Childhood 1 crew: Bouwe Bekking, Antonio Cuervas Mons, Ysbrand Endt, Pablo Garcia Mujica, Julius Hallstrom, Edmond Hilhorst, Steven Melkman, Pelle Norberg, Simbad Quiroga, Aage Reerslev, Pieter Tack, Jelmer van Beek, Jorden van Rooijen and Laura van Veen.

Childhood 1 is a new project racing for children's rights, raising awareness and funding for the Childhood Foundation. One of the project leaders Pelle Norberg was part of the crew for the RORC Transatlantic Race.

"I have been sailing all my life but this is my first time across the Atlantic. Racing with Bouwe has been a fantastic experience," commented Pelle Norberg. "The strategy with low pressure systems coming down from the north made the routing a bit difficult, but I think the tactics worked pretty well for us. This has been an amazing opportunity and a fantastic challenge - every four hours you have to take your watch and everything is soaking wet, so that is a bit of a drama, but we have had an absolutely incredible ride. In Sweden if you want to go to a sailors party, the only way you can have the right to wear red pants is if you have crossed the Atlantic!"

Since 1985, Bouwe Bekking has competed in every edition of the Whitbread Round the World Race and Volvo Ocean Race. The 2019 RORC Transatlantic Race is the first race for a new campaign and provided an ideal opportunity to test and train young crew members, which will be part of the requirement for The Ocean Race 2021-22.

"We had two days of sailing together before the race with a completely new crew," commented Bekking. "Safety was the first priority, but every day we have got better and better. People make mistakes and they are allowed to do that because it is the best way to get onto the right track. After that,you don't make the same mistakes again - this is a big part of the learning curve.

"For me, it is always nice to start building up a team from scratch. The goal for this team is very far on the horizon, but this is the beginning and we can see really interesting crew members who have a lot in them. This was an easy race weather-wise so we have to see what those crew are like when it hits the fan, but I was pleasantly surprised with their performance. I told the crew that I did my first round the world race when I was 21 and had no idea, so these sailors are lucky that they have this sort of preparation.

"I have never been to Grenada before and you always wonder where you are going to end up. Port Louis Marina is just splendid and we have received a very warm welcome - Thank you Grenada."

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