CAHALAN, however, can remain part of the team, and may at some point return to the crew. 'I want to be clear that this change is only for the next legs and isn't something definite,' said GRAEL. He invited CAHALAN to be part of the ground crew but she has not replied to the invitation yet. 'This change has nothing to do with the results of the first leg or with Adrienne´s performance; both were excellent. We just require someone who is more appropriate for the strong wind conditions that we will encounter. The reasons for this change were not technical but physical,' he explained.
The extreme physical strength required by the new boats used in the Volvo Ocean Race was the reason Brasil 1 one gave for the crew member substitution. The VO 70 class boats are 21 meters long and can have up to 500 square meters of sail surface. The physical strength required to change each sail is enormous. The effort will be even bigger in the next legs which take place in the South Seas.
On the legs between Cape Town, South Africa and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the sailors will cross some of the most dangerous seas on this planet. Sailing at very high latitudes, close to the Antarctic, the boats will brave extremely high winds, giant waves and risk encountering enormous icebergs. Furthermore, the crews on these boats are small. During the last Volvo Ocean Race, with the smaller Volvo 60 boats that had a smaller sail surface, the crews had two more people onboard.
The issue of physical strength became even more evident onboard the Brasil 1 when trimmer Marcelo FERREIRA (BRA) suffered some health problems and a fever during the first days of the first leg and was unable to take part in the watches. 'This first leg was the first time that we sailed with ten people onboard. Up until then, the minimum was always eleven. And with ten people, the situation became a lot more demanding for the rest of the crew, even more so with Marcelo´s health problems,' said GRAEL.
With the training sessions for the second Volvo Ocean Race leg less than two weeks away, skipper GRAEL and project director Alan ADLER (BRA) are running against the clock and are already negotiating with another navigator. The name of the new crew member will be announced in the next few days.
CAHALAN was navigator for Cheyenne when she broke the round the world non-stop record last year, has been a nominee for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards on several occasions and was the navigator on the all female entry Heineken back in the 1993-1994 Whitebread Round the World Race. In a statement she made on Monday morning, the Australian was seemingly certain her relationship with the Brazilian team was at an end.
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