Racing community mourns Whitbread sailor

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Conny van Rietschoten, two-time winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race, died Dec. 17 at his Portugal home after suffering a stroke. He was 87.

A successful businessman, the Dutch sailor was looking for a new challenge and found it in the second edition of the Whitbread, now known as the Volvo Ocean Race.

He skippered Flyer I in 1977-78, holding off rival Kings Legend to win the race on corrected time, according to an obituary in scuttlebutt.com. He returned for the 1981-82 edition won on overall time with Flyer II after battling Kiwi adversaries Ceramco New Zealand.

Van Rietschoten is the only skipper to win two editions of the race and was the first to win on both elapsed and corrected time. He is also the only Dutch skipper to have won the race.

“The Flyer crew are saddened to hear of the passing of our great friend Conny,” said Grant Dalton, one of his crew on Flyer II and now manager of America’s Cup syndicate Team New Zealand.

“Nearly all of us can track our careers to Conny. We were all young, restless, most of us totally unproven and yet Conny took a chance on us. He allowed us to be ourselves, sometimes guiding us, sometimes coming down hard on us. He taught us how it was going to be done in the future and he introduced a professional business approach to offshore sailing. He was indeed a pioneer.”

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Comments

One comment on “Racing community mourns Whitbread sailor

  1. Keith Crellin

    As a young and inexperienced ocean sailor I had read all the books and yaching articles on the Whitbread Race especialy the exploits of Connie. So much so that I joined the crew of Norsk Data GB for part of the 84/85 race.
    Later that year I had the privilege of meeting Connie in Madeira when he was enroute in Flyer 11. He was going to Perth to watch the Americas Cup. His professional attitude toward the race has produced the top pro sailers of today.

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