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Simeon Tienpont: Time to regroup

Published on October 14th, 2017

(October 14, 2017) – The dismissal of Simeon Tienpont as skipper of Team AkzoNobel has been the early shocker of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, particularly as it came yesterday on the eve of the first In-Port Race today, and one week before the start of the first offshore leg.

While the team said the dismissal was due to a breach of contract, and how they will still compete in the competition with a new skipper, the team declined any further comment.

Following the team’s action, Simeon Tienpont issued this statement:

The meeting with skipper of team AkzoNobel Simeon Tienpont and Communications, Public Affairs & Legal Affairs of AkzoNobel, which was cancelled by AkzoNobel a few times and was late, did not contribute to any solution.

The deadlock Tienpont was forced in yesterday following AkzoNobel’s one-sided termination of the contract was not resolved; the meeting did not contribute to any solution, so there was no other choice than to go public after AkzoNobel’s suggestive statement about our skipper Simeon Tienpont.

During the Prologue leg of the Volvo Ocean Race (which left Lisbon on October 8th), so at a time AkzoNobel knew that Tienpont as a skipper was unreachable, AkzoNobel terminated their contract with Simeon Tienpont and his entire team. The team finished third in the Prologue.

AkzoNobel announced their sponsorship in the 2017-18 race on July 5th, 2016 in Scheveningen, the Netherlands, and were the first team to enter the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race. The Volvo Ocean Race is the longest and toughest sailing race in the world. Tienpont has participated twice in the race (2005-06 and 2016) and is a two time America’s Cup winner.

AkzoNobel has refused to reverse its decision and it looks they are unwilling to continue the Volvo Ocean Race campaign with Tienpont as their skipper.

Tienpont: “Disappointing, especially because me and my team were successfully racing the Prologue from Lisbon to Alicante.”

Also, only a few weeks ago, on September 25th, 2017 the new CEO of AkzoNobel confirmed Tienpont his personal and AkzoNobel’s support for the campaign. The CEO urged Simeon to contact him personally if any problem should arise.

Sadly up to time, AkzoNobel’s CEO has not been available for Tienpont upon the termination. No explanation has been givens as to why AkzoNobel acted in this manner.

Tienpont: “They talk about a contract break, which is absolutely unfounded and is very damaging to my reputation, especially in view of the timing, just before the start of the race. I can only guess that it is about a small budget overrun on a safety issue, but we have always been 100% transparent to AkzoNobel about our financial affairs and all our expenses have been made with their approval. It is them, not me, who is in clear breach of the contract.”

Tienpont: “It has always been my aim to run a safe, sustainable, and winning campaign for AkzoNobel and I still want to do so. My other sponsors and partners supporting the team, my sailing and shore crew employed, were very confident in our approach to represent AkzoNobel in the very best way possible. It came as a huge and unpleasant surprise when AkzoNobel terminated the contract during the Prologue at the time the team was at sea. Tienpont and his team will now regroup and try to develop options to continue with this winning campaign.”

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The Volvo Ocean Race will start on October 22 from Alicante, Spain. The Alicante Race Village is scheduled to open on October 11 with the In-Port Race on Saturday, October 14.

2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers

Team AkzoNobel (NED), Not known
Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)

Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.

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