It's three years today since he passed, but his legend and spirit still lives on.
He took sailing to a new level, inspiring a new generation of Dutch sailors, including Simeon Tienpont, skipper of Team AkzoNobel in the 2017-18 edition.
“The Netherlands are very fond of this race and that’s all because of Conny van Rietschoten,” says Simeon.
In fact, Simeon himself won the now-famous Conny van Rietschoten Trophy, which is awarded to the most promising Dutch sailor, in 2013.
"He brought the event, then called The Whitbread, to an entirely new level. He built his boat in an excellent Dutch boatyard and recruited professional sailors from all around the world."
Check out the video below – a look at his first Volvo Ocean Race in 1977-78.