ALICANTE – At today's press conference with the team skippers, Brad Jackson (NZL), the newly appointed skipper of Team AkzoNobel who replaced Simeon Tienpont after he was ousted by the sponsor a week ago for alleged "breach of contract," had this to say:
Team-wise, we’re just focusing on the race. Basically, we have the same team as we had before except Simeon. It’s thanks to him that we have the team we have. Not too much has changed in terms of how we’re going to work on board or the crew morale. The last few days we’ve been able to focus on what we’re going to do. We were lucky that Rome Kirby was available and qualified and ready to go. He’s another Under-30 so that brings us up to 5 Under-30s in the team. It’s a young team but Rome has done the race before with me on PUMA and he has a lot of experience for a young guy. He’s a young, fast guy.
The news of Mr Kirby's joining the team was reported on Tuesday here on Sailing Illustrated in a world exclusive. Read AkzoNobel's Thursday full announcement here.
Watch a video of the 33-minute press conference here, or read the top comments by each skipper (according to the VOR media team) here.
Meanwhile there is no word yet on the arbitration that is taking place in the Netherlands today, brought by Simeon Tienpont against AkzoNobel. Mr Tienpont alleges that it was in fact Akzo who are in breach of the contract they had with Simeon's management company, STEAM Ocean Racing BV.
Rome Kirby, 28, won the America's Cup with ORACLE TEAM USA at San Francisco in 2013, and was a reserve with the team when they lost the Cup at Bermuda earlier this year. This is his second Volvo Ocean Race, having done his first lap around the planet with Ken Read and PUMA in the 2011-12 VOR.