Simeon Tienpont not giving up on Volvo Ocean Race

Published on October 16th, 2017

The build-up toward the start of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race has been rocked by controversy as Team AkzoNobel, one of the seven competing teams, dismissed its skipper Simeon Tienpont (NED) on Friday, October 13. That this was on the eve of the first In-Port Race, and a week from the start of the offshore contest, made the incident that much more dramatic.

Tienpont has not been pleased with how AkzoNobel has characterized this incident in their statements and has issued this update on Monday, October 16, 2017:

The statement by AkzoNobel that Tienpont left his team is absolutely incorrect. AkzoNobel unlawfully terminated its contract with Steam Ocean (skipper Simeon Tienpont) during the Prologue leg on October 10, 2017. Tienpont being casted aside just before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race has caused many insecurities with the crew, who were under contract of Steam Ocean B.V., the management company of Tienpont.

Simeon Tienpont

AkzoNobel seriously neglected its sponsor obligations by withholding payments to Steam Ocean. As a result, Tienpont was brought in a position where he could not pay the salaries of his crew over the last months.

Last Saturday (Oct. 14), AkzoNobel offered Tienpont a new contract against worse conditions. Tienpont’s first priority was with his team, reason why he asked AkzoNobel’s full commitment to an instant payment of the crew and a settlement on the early termination of the sponsorship contract. AkzoNobel did not want to make these commitments.

On Sunday (Oct. 15), Tienpont had a meeting with his crew and expressed his confidence that arrangements with AkzoNobel can be made in the coming days. He wants to return on board as skipper and is eager to restore the unique opportunity of sailing a safe and promising Volvo Ocean Race with his team.

Last night, AkzoNobel invited most crew members to work for them directly under similar conditions and to pay the outstanding salaries, however, under the condition that they had to terminate their contractual relationship with Steam Ocean (Tienpont) with immediate effect, putting enormous pressure on the crew to opt for their money and for achieving their personal goal to sail the Volvo Ocean Race.

It is extremely noble of the unpaid crew that they sailed this weekend under these difficult circumstances and without a skipper. Their attitude has avoided unnecessary damage to the Volvo Ocean Race and to AkzoNobel as a sponsor.

The enormous support Tienpont is receiving worldwide is greatly appreciated and gives him the energy to be there for his team, and also for his supporters.

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The first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race will start on October 22 and extend 700 nm Alicante, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal.

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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