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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Two More Crew For Team Brunel

After four months of intensive training, Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking announced two more crew this Monday during a private event in The Netherlands.
Louis Balcaen (BEL) Photo: Sander van der Borch/Team Brunel,
According to the race rules, every team shall include two sailors under the age of 30 onboard and Bekking has chosen 25-year old Louis Balcaen (BEL) and 27-year old Rokas Milevičius (LIT) to cover these two spots. Only one position remains to complete the sailing crew.
Rokas Milevičius (LIT) Photo: Sander van der Borch/Team Brunel
“All candidates are great sailors and huge team players. But in the end, you have to look at who is the most all-rounded sailor. Enthusiasm and talent are the characteristics that we most pay attention to. And Louis is an excellent helmsman and a fantastic trimmer who learns quickly," Bekking said

“Rokas is very eager and all-rounded. He is quite experienced in offshore racing and has participated in an Olympic campaign.

It’s a “dream come true” for Balcaen. “There is still plenty to learn and now I have to live up to it. I am really looking forward to it and I will work as hard as I can to prove to Bouwe that he made the right decision.”

Milevičius will be the first Lithuanian to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race. “I look forward to the race and I am extremely proud that I have made it this far. I am the first Lithuanian participating in the race and I suspect that my selection will give the sport of sailing a huge boost in Lithuania.”

Olympic Finn sailor Pieter-Jan Postma from the Netherlands and German sailor Robert Stanjek have not been selected. Dutch sailor Timo Hagoort has been assured a position as reserve crew member and he is still competing for the last position on the sailing team.

“Timo is extremely enthusiastic and talented,” said Bekking. “But he clearly needs more time to prove himself. That is why we want to keep him in the team.”

Hagoort is still realistic that he can make the cut. “On one hand I am disappointed that I have not been selected yet, but on the other hand I am really pleased that I can stay in the team as a reserve crew member during the entire Volvo Ocean Race. This means that I still have a few months to prove myself. I have not given up my hope of a permanent place onboard yet.”

Stanjek was informed by Bekking over the phone that he would not be part of the team. "Of course I am very disappointed by this decision. Applying for a round the world race was not a hasty idea on my side. I put a lot of effort, energy and time into this new challenge.

"It wasn’t meant to be this time round but I am thankful for what I have learnt in the past few months from working with this outstanding team. This experience will serve me in the future and has made me a better sailor, who hasn’t stopped making big plans.“

Postma is also disappointed with the team decision but admits the difficulties of selecting the right crew for the job. “I've just been told that I won’t sail the Volvo Ocean Race. That's hard. I have a lot of respect for Bouwe and the team, and for difficult decisions as well. That's what a good skipper is supposed to do.

“It’s a pity that this decision turned out to be negative for me, but I'm grateful for having been part of the campaign. I continue to support the team. Team Brunel and the Volvo Ocean Race stay in my heart.”

Volvo Ocean Race Media

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