Winning the Whitbread race twice in a row in the early eighties, Dutch sailor Connie van Rietschoten stepped up the level of ocean racing in an unrivalled way. Key to his success was thorough preparation, focus on team work, immense determination and solid leadership. His legacy lives on in the form of Hollands most prestigious sailing award “The Connie van Rietschoten Trophy”.
Many big sailing names have won the trophy, and this year Wouter joins the likes of Bouwe Bekking, Piet van de Nieuwenhuysen, Dirk de Ridder, Margriet Mathijssen, Marcelien de Koning and Lobke Berkhout.
Koen van Niftrik, marketing director of insurance company Delta Lloyd, main sponsor of the Trophy: "In Holland we are much to humble about the impressive achievements that these sailors are displaying on the world stage. The Connie van Rietschoten Trophy gives them the credit they deserve, and puts the spotlight on these athletes. I congratulate all category winners and wish them the best of luck on their quest for gold."
Says Wouter : "I am extremely proud to win the Delta Lloyd sponsored Connie van Rietschoten prize in the category for offshore sailing, and I would like to thank the jury for this honour. To join the many great names that have won the Trophy before me certainly is a crown on this year.
Ocean racing is all about top performance and working together, and that's what makes it so interesting. Sailing in the Southern Ocean you have no choice but to fully trust your other crew members, and push through no matter what.
The almost ten years of corporate backing by Delta Lloyd is clearly producing results in the Olympic and small boat classes, showing that with solid support the great pool of talent can produce stunning results.
We have all the ingredients to lift Hollands offshore sailing back to the forefront on the international stage. It is a big shame that neither the Volvo Ocean Race fleet nor the Transat Jacque Vabre there is a single Dutch sailor is present. With our team we are working hard to buck this trend. We want to make sure that we have an exciting ocean racing entry again.
Such a huge endeavour requires rigorous preparation. Every thousand mile journey starts with the first little step, and as such our first aim is to bring the next edition of the Open 60 Round Europe Race to Holland. The event organisers have expressed the wish to finish the race in Holland. Now it's up to us to pick up the ball and get this in place.
Holland has a tremendous history in ocean racing, it has a huge following, we have a very rich maritime sector and a large talent pool of exceptional sailors. Both the Hugo Boss and Delta Lloyd Volvo Ocean Race campaign's have shown that sailing works for partner companies in a very good way. Important, as the campaign has to be winning not only on the sportive side, but also the corporate one.
Wouter is awarded the 2011 Connie van Rietschoten Trophy for Offshore sailing!