The fleet racing in the Volvo Ocean Race has been in port for less than a week, and already crew changes are being made. The first adjustments were made to Lisa McDonald’s crew onboard Amer Sports Too.
New Zealander Sharon Ferris is leaving the syndicate to take up an option on another sailing project. Ferris said that details would be released in a few weeks time when the sponsorship announcement has been made.
Australian navigator, Genevieve White is also moving aside to make room for a replacement navigator with more experience. White, who was brought in almost at the last minute to replace French woman Marie Claude Heys in the navigators' role, commented, "The navigator comes under a lot of pressure at this level in the sport and I understand the syndicate wants to bring in a navigator with more experience."
Perhaps less surprising was the decision that Carolijn Brouwer from The Netherlands would once again replace Melissa Purdy from the USA. Brouwer sailed the Southern Ocean leg from Cape Town to Sydney onboard Amer Sports Too, and makes a planned return for the 6,700 nautical mile leg from Auckland to Rio de Janeiro, which starts on January 27th.
Skipper Lisa McDonald said, "we will announce the new members of the leg four sailing team when they arrive at our Auckland base next week." She also confirmed that the campaign was still working on crew development and finding the right mix of skills and experience as they prepared for the next leg, which takes them back into the Southern Ocean.
Meanwhile, British sailor, Matthew Humphries has resigned from Team SEB. Humphries, like fellow watch leader David 'Dingo' Rolfe who also left the project in Sydney, has been with the Team SEB project since it's beginning. Humphries has sailed with skipper Gurra Krantz for several years and was part of the Swedish Match team in the 1997-98 Whitbread together with Krantz and many of the SEB crewmembers onboard.
Humphries explained, "I have been working together with Gurra Krantz for a long time now but we have different views on the future. Therefore, I have decided to leave the team."
Wishing Humphries good luck for the future, Krantz added, "it is sad that Matthew will be leaving us as he has been in the core crew for many years. We are splitting on good terms and I wish Matthew the best of luck in his future endeavours."
Humphries has participated in three Whitbread Round the World Races; on With Integrity in 1989-90 when, as an eighteen year-old he became the youngest crewmember ever in the race. He then skippered Dolphin & Youth in 1993-94 and most recently he was watch captain onboard Swedish Match. His replacement is yet to be announced.
Final crew lineups for the next leg do not have to be declared until 48 hours before the restart and there is no doubt that there will be some fresh faces amongst the crews as they cross the start line out on the Hauraki Gulf later this month.