Team Vestas Wind today announced that navigator Wouter Verbraak is no longer a member of the crew for the Volvo Ocean Race. The Dutchman was on board when the team was run aground on November 29 during Leg 2 on a reef in the middle of the Indian Ocean, causing major damage.
In the same announcement, Team Vestas Wind also stated that the remaining members of the crew would continue helping the team with the boat repair process at Persico’s boatyard in Italy before their planned return to the race in June for the final two legs from Lisbon under skipper Chris Nicholson.
A statement issued early on Friday said: “Chris Nicholson has completed his review, together with the lead sponsor Vestas and sub-sponsor Powerhouse, and the decision has been made that Wouter Verbraak will no longer continue as navigator of the Vestas Wind.
“Team Vestas Wind will be joined by a new navigator in time for the Lisbon stopover and Leg 8 start in June. Team Vestas Wind would like to thank Wouter for his service and wish him well in the future.”
Verbraak, in a statement, added: “I am very sad to announce that I have been notified that I will not continue with Team Vestas Wind.
“I respect Chris Nicholson’s decision and wish the team the very, very best of luck with the hard work ahead of them in the Volvo Ocean Race. I would have wanted to help the team getting back in the race again and contribute to their success in the last parts of the race.
“On a personal note I am looking forward to the new sailing challenges that are coming up for me in the months ahead and want to keep sharing the passion that I have for this great sport with you all.
“Someone recently told me: ‘Life is not about how many breaths you take, but about the moments that take your breath away’. I am looking forward to the new breathless moments to come. Ocean racing tends to offer many of them.”
The remaining shore and sailing crew will continue to work as integral members of Team Vestas Wind, and will use their skills to assist Persico in the boat repair process.
They will also support the team at stopovers before Lisbon to keep Team Vestas Wind at the centre of race activities. The crew were grounded on a reef near St Brandon archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The boat was badly damaged but was retrieved just before Christmas.
It is expected to arrive on a Maersk Line ship in Genoa, Italy on Sunday and then be transported with the help of race sponsors GAC Pindar to Persico’s boatyard in Bergamo for the rebuild to start in earnest.