Crew changes on MAPFRE, Volvo Ocean Race

Published on November 10th, 2014

There is no need to hide the truth. Leg 1 didn’t go well for MAPFRE. Skippered by Iker Martínez, the Spanish team arrived last in Cape Town on Friday. They would have secured sixth spot had they not ran into an almost windless area under Table Mountain shortly before the finish. Team SCA took advantage to sail in on a more favoured course and snatched sixth instead.

Three days later, it’s time to move forward. After a team debrief, the crew has taken some key decisions. Navigator Nico Lunven will be replaced by Jean-Luc Nélias, the man who helped mastermind Groupama’s win in the last edition, taking over the second leg which starts on November 19. The navigator for Franck Cammas’s winning crew in 2011-12, Jean-Luc has already been working with MAPFRE as a weather analyst, and now replaces navigator Nico Lunven onboard.

The team also announced that Michel Desjoyeaux, the twice Vendée Globe winner onboard for the first leg, will not be sailing any further stages but remains available to assist the team from onshore.

“The decision to stop sailing with MAPFRE is a shared one,” explained Desjoyeaux. “These aren’t easy decisions to make, but there is part of the life of a team too. We’ve seen similar stories in the past.

“These teams bring top athletes together, with strong personalities. It’s one of the parameters to manage in the Volvo Ocean Race. You got to orchestrate everything.”

“Even if I won’t sail with MAPFRE anymore, I didn’t waste my time. I brought my own contribution to the project. It’s a great team, with really good guys onboard!”

MAPFRE emphasized that it was never planned for Michel to sail the entire race. His replacement will be announced in the next few days, the team added.

The team did not make any comments on the crew changes but said their boat had arrived in Cape Town generally in good shape despite some relatively minor problems with the engine, batteries and other small breakages. They will be back in the water on Tuesday, preparing for the Cape Town in-port race on Saturday, November 14.

Event Website

Report by Event Media

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