As your Ed. was also first to report last week when we broke the news of the firing of Simeon Tienpont (NED) as skipper of the the Volvo Ocean Race team AkzoNobel, 49 year-old Brad Jackson (Auckland, NZL) has today been appointed skipper. Jackson, a veteran of seven Volvos, has been promoted to skipper from the Akzo crew (previously watch captain, helmsman, and head of boat performance). Full story here.
In the meantime, former Akzo skipper Simeon Tienpont has not given up on his fight to remain as skipper and CEO of the team after being ousted by the sponsor last Friday on the eve of the Alicante In-Port Race. Today he issued another public statement, accusing the sponsor of withholding payment to Tienpont's management company, Steam Ocean. Tienpont's statement in full: “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 AkzoNobel offered Tienpont a new contract against worse conditions. Tienpont’s first priority was with his team, reason why he asked Akzo Nobel’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 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 [Sunday] 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.” We asked Simeon to appear on our live netcast tomorrow, Tuesdays with TFE, to tell his side of the story; he declined, on the advice of his lawyers, from giving interviews at this time.
As if the Volvo Ocean Race needed more ink about teams with financial issues, the Dutch website watersport-tv.nl reports today that the other Dutch team, Brunel led by Bouwe Boekking (NED), needs to raise another €2 million before the end of the race. The website quotes Bart Salemans, spokesman for the team Brunel, that there is absolutely no panic. "The race is still long and we are in talks with several potential sponsors. We just assume we can sail out the race. All our partners are aware of the situation. When we decided to join the race, we were known to have a shortage." Full story (in Dutch).
Congrats to Joel Ronning and his Catapult team of John Kostecki, Christopher Stocke, and Patrick Wilson on winning the J/70 North Americans which wrapped yesterday at American Yacht Club (Rye, NY). Ronning, the 2016 World Champ, bested the 2017 World Champion Peter Duncan to take the title in the 8-race series with 53 teams competing. Finishing 14th overall and winning the 20-boat Corinthian title was Jenn and Ray Wulff with crew Catherine Pelo, Brady Stagg, and Fletcher Sims. Results. Facebook.
Congrats also to 70-year-old David Storrs (Fairfield, CT) and his team of Hayden Goodrick (Edwards, CO.), Tom Powrie (Auckland, NZL), Laurie Jury (AKL, New Zealand), and Sam Bell (London, GBR) on winning the U.S. Match Racing Championship at Oakcliff on Long Island's Oyster Bay. On the other end of the age range, was 15-year-old Jeffrey Petersen (Newport Beach, CA), a regular Sailing Illustrated contributor, who finished 9th in the 10-boat fleet. Jeffrey is writing another article for us about the experience and all he learned. Full story. Results.
Morgan Larson (USA) is returning to this weekend's Extreme Sailing Series event in San Diego with an all-American crew that includes three of Oracle Team USA’s America’s Cup sailors – Andrew Campbell, Cooper Dressler, and Matt Cassidy – who will take the positions of mainsail trimmer, floater and headsail trimmer respectively. According to Morgan, "We have a complete Californian squad from our shore team to our sailing team; three of us are San Diego natives. We may be a late entry this season but the calibre of guys on our team is second to none." Full story.
Brazilian sailing legend Robert Scheidt has announced his retirement from Olympic sailing. The 44-year-old said he would continue in non-Olympic events and support Brazil's elite sailors as they prepare for Tokyo 2020. Scheidt won Olympic gold gold medals in the Laser class in 1996 and 2004 and also claimed silver at the Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008 Games. He took the bronze medal at London 2012 in the Star class. Scheidt returned to the Laser at Rio 2016, finishing fourth. Scheidt has also won an amazing 12 World Championships, nine in the Laser and three in the Star. Full story.
Please join us for tomorrow's live netcast on our SI Facebook page at 1300 PDT. We'll have the latest on the Volvo Ocean Racing saga as we lead up to Sunday's start of the first leg in Alicante to Lisbon.