Friday, June 04, 2010

Never Give Up by Bouwe Bekking

The 2005-6 Volvo Ocean Race was the initiation of the Volvo Open 70 design rule, and it didn’t go well for most boats. Countless structural and design failures took teams off the track, with pitstops and rebuilds becoming the theme for the race. No boat suffered more than Movistar, which nearly sank off Cape Horn and finally did sink on the leg across the Atlanic. The skipper of Movistar was Bouwe Bekking.

Bekking was back again for the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race - his sixth - as skipper of Telefonica Blue. Also back again was Bekking’s bad luck. While the Volvo Open 70 rule had evolved to provide a fairly reliable ride, Bekking remained a lightning rod for adversity. T-Blue proved speedy in some conditions, but a disaster in others. Then there were the breakdowns and collisions. Simply stated, no team had more highs and lows than T-Blue.

To share his story of the 08-9 VOR, Bekking has co-authored ‘Never Give Up!’, a 153-page book providing an onboard and behind the scenes look at the Telefonica team. While the official race book ‘Spanish Castle to White Night’ (authored by Mark Chisnell) provides a recap of the race, Bekking’s book (written with Riath Al-Samarrai) offers a more personal perspective. And given the rollercoaster ride of T-Blue, his team had the best tale to tell.

Their third place finish was a tribute to Bekking's leadership and his crew's tenacity. The book was an easy and enjoyable read, with great photos and handy diagrams to support the story. Race commentary from the crew is blended into the narrative, and the tight competition between T-Blue and second place PUMA Ocean Racing seeps in between the lines. If you are looking for summer reading, here are the details:

AMAZON: No luck searching for this book on, but you will see the other 312 titles that share the same book name.

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