ESPRIT DE CORPS III
This magnificent boat was imagined by the designers from Judel/Vrolik & Co and was built by Holland Composites. In 1997, Brunel launches their debut in the world of sailing and finances a sailing team for the first time, in collaboration with their compatriot Sunergy.
The crew of the Brunel/Sunergy team take the departure of the Whitbread Round the World Race 1997-98 alongside 9 other Volvo Ocean 60’s..not least among them…a certain Swedish Match, that will become Esprit de Corps II.
During the first leg of the race between Southampton and Cape Town, while the yacht is sailing under gennaker in strong wind conditions, the shackle that holds the top running backstay broke and the mast suddenly inverted. A couple of days after the incident, the yacht hit a whale, and lost half of the rudder. This caused the team to reduce speed in order to be able to reach their destination safely.
It is at this point that skipper Hans Buscholte forfeited his position to Roy Heiner that was to finish the race with his teammates. Brunel/Sunergy eventually reached the 8th position in the general rankings despite a victory between Fort Lauderdale and Baltimore and a second place between Auckland Sao Paulo.
Back in Holland the boat continued to serve as a training boat for the team but in the mid 2000’s the boat is hauled-out and put on hard. Dismasted, stripped of its sails and on a dock in Ijmuiden in the Netherlands, the boat was abandoned and for sale.
It took 8 long years before this forgotten gem caught the attention of Gilles Barbot and Georges Leblanc and that the pair would decide to acquire it.
In 2014, after a challenging crossing of the Atlantic, the boat is finally in Canada and renamed Esprit de Corps III, joining Atlas Ocean Racing’s fleet.