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The Ocean Race Europe: Team Childhood I climbs to fourth place on the leaderboard

by Team Childhood I 17 Jun 17:35 PDT
Van Veen on the bow of Childhood I - The Ocean Race Europe Leg 3 from Alicante, Spain, to Genoa, Italy © Aiste Ridikaite / Ambersail-2 / The Ocean Race

Team Childhood I finished fourth in the third and final offshore leg of The Ocean Race Europe on Thursday morning. Swedish Dutch Team Childhood climbs with this result to fourth place on the leaderboard. It was Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team that pulled off a come-from-behind victory in the VO65 class. Saturday the seven teams await the final coastal race - where points will be awarded to the top three teams only (3 points for a win, 2 points for second, 1 point for third) - as a showdown to decide the overall VO65 class standings in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe.

Skipper Simeon Tienpont looked back at the leg after arriving in Genova. Tienpont: "It was a fantastic leg with a lof strategic options and a lot of sail changes. There were some difficult phases with little to no wind. In that case, it's hard to keep the boat running. Looking back, we sailed a clear race. Unfortunately, we just missed out on the podium. That's a bit disappointing."

Laura van Veen, one out of eight young professionals onboard, explains the challenges this light weather brings. Van Veen: "It was an intensive leg, not so much physically but more mentally. The light weather makes it super challenging to stay constantly sharp in steering and in trimming the sails. Even with the light wind, you want the boat to go fast. So you should always keep thinking a step ahead. Doing that, knowing it could take an hour or an hour and a half before you make any progress at all, that's very intense and drains energy."

This inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe is used by Team Childhood I to get the eight young professionals ready for The Ocean Race Europe. These young professionals, all under 30, are given the opportunity to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible.

One of them is 26-year-old Jelmer van Beek. Van Beek:

"In two year's time, the finish of The Ocean Race will also be here in Genova. We, as the next generation, would like to be there and participate in the overall victory. There is a good chance that it will then be decided under the Italian coast as well. Today we have seen that over here it can go in all directions with this light weather. Sailing into the night we were virtually in first for a moment, a lack of wind at our spot, and a few hours later, we suddenly had to fight to not end up in fifth or sixth. It's a pity that our tactic didn't work out well today. But all in all, it has been nice racing. A great final leg after two months of super-intensive training and racing in Europe."

"On Saturday the final coastal race awaits, theoretically we still have a chance for the overall podium but realistic that will be difficult. As we don't have it in our own hands anymore. Looking back, I really enjoyed The Ocean Race Europe. Racing with seven of these boats is an amazing experience. The progress gives us confidence and I hope to be at the highest place on the podium in two years' time with a large part of this young team. That's the ambition!"

Simeon Tienpont is, like Van Beek, satisfied with the progress made by the young team. Tienpont is positive about the future for and potential of this new generation of Dutch sailors.

Tienpont: "We have taken big steps. We were a more or less new group of sailors who had to do it together. The sailing level and qualities onboard are very high. In the end, our preparation was just too short. That's something we knew before and could easily be solved, going ahead. It was the reason why we competed in this setup: growing as quickly and effectively as possible as a team but certainly also for all young professionals individual. We definitely won the race in that area. The development of the next generation is what gives me the most satisfaction looking back. It was a pleasure to sail with this group. There is a bright future ahead for these young professionals. "

"And not only for them but also for the race. This European version of the race has shown once again how exciting it can be. These boats, the VO65's, showed once more that they still can deliver a great race."

"The level of the whole fleet is high and this young team needs to go all in. To be well prepared for the start next year October."

Looking back very positively on the exchange of experience is one of the two female young professionals onboard Laura van Veen.

Van Veen: "We made a lot of steps forward as a team since the first leg. All young professionals are now aware of and taking care of the responsibilities coming with their position onboard. This race has really provided us with a lot of confidence. Of course, we can and must continue to grow but some major steps have been taken in that regard. The pros or the veterans to call them that, have shared a lot of knowledge with us. The knowledge we will now continue on. We are incredibly grateful to them for that."

Crewlijst The Ocean Race Europe leg 2 and 3

1. Simeon Tienpont - NED - skipper
2. Gerd Jan Poortman - NED - watch leader
3. Wouter Verbraak - NED - navigator
4. Peter van Niekerk - NED - watch leader
5. Jelmer van Beek - NED - under 30
6. Rutger Vos - NED - under 30
7. Laura van Veen - NED - under 30
8. Arianne van de Loosdrecht - NED - under 30
9. Matt Whitehead - RSA - under 30
10. Max Deckers - NED - under 30
11. Lars van Stekelenborg - NED - under 30
12. Robin Jacobs - NED - under 30
13. Pieter-Jan Postma - NED
14. Brend Schuil - NED - On Board Reporter

Scoreboard after Leg 3

1. Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team - 18 points.
2. AkzoNobel Ocean Racing - 17 points.
3. Sailing Poland - 15 points.
4. Team Childhood I - 12 points.
5. The Austrian Ocean Race Project - 10 points.
6. AmberSail - 2 - 9 points.
7. Viva Mexico - 8 points.

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