Dongfeng Race Team have selected Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou for their Volvo Ocean Race campaign in 2017-18.
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The selection of Brouwer and Riou by Dongfeng is the first sign that the rule change, brought in by the Volvo Ocean Race in order to encourage female sailors will have a significant impact across the sport.
Under the new crew rules, all-male teams will be limited to just seven sailors.
But teams that include female sailors will be able to choose from combinations including seven men plus one or two women; five men plus five women; or 11 women.
The two women bring a wealth of experience to Charles Caudrelier’s team, including a total of five Olympic Games and a host of world titles.
They join Jérémie Beyou, Stu Bannatyne and Daryl Wislang, who were announced last week as the first of the campaign’s crew for 2017-18.
Brouwer, 43, is one of the Netherlands’ most respected athletes and a two-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran, having competed with Amer Sports Too in 2001-02 and Team SCA in 2014-15.
She is also a former World Sailor of the Year and a three-time Olympian.
She is joined by France’s Riou, 35, who has competed twice at the Olympics, including Rio 2016, and has won four world championships in the Nacra 17 class.
The pair have been selected following an extensive programme of evaluation which included sailing and racing, both inshore and offshore, in Australia and Portugal.
The announcement of the remaining crew members of Dongfeng Race Team will be made in the coming weeks.
Dongfeng are one of three teams to have announced campaigns for the race so far, along with Team AkzoNobel (Netherlands) and MAPFRE (Spain).
A fourth team is confirmed and will be announced in late March, with the others to come in the following weeks and months.
The race will start from Alicante on 22 October and visit Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport RI, Cardiff and Gothenburg, before the big finish in The Hague at the end of June.
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16 March 2017 10:12 GMT