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Burling joins Team Brunel for Volvo Ocean Race

Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winning helmsman Pete Burling is joining Team Brunel for the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Pete Burling with Grant Dalton and America's Cup

The signing of the world’s most in-demand sailor is a major coup for Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking – and sets up what should be a compelling rivalry with Burling’s long-term sailing partner Blair Tuke, who is competing with Spanish team MAPFRE.

Together, Burling and Tuke carried the flag for New Zealand at the 2016 Olympics and came home from Rio with a gold medal in the 49er.

The pair followed up that success by playing influential roles in Emirates Team New Zealand’s victory in the America’s Cup earlier this year.

Still only 26, Burling is the youngest winning helmsman in America’s Cup history.

Either Burling or Tuke could become the first sailor to complete the Triple Crown of sailing’s major events. To date, no one has won an Olympic gold medal medal, the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race. Both teams will start among the favourites.

Burling has joined Brunel at the finish line of the Fastnet and will be on board for the third stage of Leg Zero qualifying.

The Volvo Ocean 65 fleet will start the third part of the Leg Zero qualification race from Plymouth at 12:00 UTC Thursday and will backtrack down the Fastnet route to a buoy next to the Needles on the Isle of Wight before heading south west towards the walled city of St Malo.

ETA for the fleet in France is early morning Friday and the fleet rise up through the locks into the inner basin where they will be on display for the public.

The 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race begins from Alicante on 22 October. The race will take the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world via a series of Host City stops – including Auckland.

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