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Volvo Ocean Race: Team AkzoNobel in turmoil

ALICANTE, ESP – After we broke the news today about Team AkzoNobel CEO/Skipper Simeon Tienpont (NED) being excused from further participation, the team issued the following pithy statement:

Following a breach of contract Simeon Tienpont left his role as skipper of team AkzoNobel in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race on Friday, October 13, 2017. AkzoNobel, the owner and title partner of team AkzoNobel, has confirmed it’s fully committed to the team competing in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. An announcement confirming who will take over the skipper role will be made shortly.

Left his role, indeed. Certainly an interesting way to phrase it. By all accounts Simeon did not quit.

As our friend Alan Block wrote over on Sailing Anarchy a few minutes ago, "The jury is definitely still out on whether Simeon breached his contract with Akzo, or Akzo breached their contract with Simeon, and there are undoubtedly lawyers somewhere [already] billing a lot of hours on this one. We’ve also learned that Simeon’s crew will take the AZ on the water tomorrow without him...."

One hears that some of the Azko crew were heard saying in Alicante tonight that if Simeon were not reinstated they would quit. But how many times have we heard that over the past 35 years, when a skipper of an AC or other major team is eased and his stalwart teammates pledge allegiance, at first – at least until they read their contracts and check their bank balances.

One also hears that key AkzoNobel crewman Brad Jackson (NZL) may be in line to take over as Skipper/CEO. Mr Jackson is a veteran of fully six Volvos, has won three of them, and finished second twice [source]. Brad is currently listed as a Watch Captain and Head of Boat Performance. Developing....

You can watch tomorrow's Alicante In-Port Race, three laps over approximately one hour, live-streamed on the VOR website beginning at 0500 PDT / 0800 EDT / 1200 UTC / 1400 CET.

Team AkzoNobel in Alicante earlier this week after finishing the so-called Prologue race (ironic in Simeon's case?) that started in Lisbon, POR and was shortened due to light air. Simeon is in the bottom row left. Brad Jackson bottom row right.