LISBON – This morning two of our best sources checked in from Portugal, where the seven-boat Volvo Ocean Race fleet will sail their In-Port Race tomorrow (Friday) before commencing Leg 2 from Lisbon to Cape Town on Sunday afternoon. Sailing Illustrated now confidently breaks the news that Jules Salter (GBR), who has been with the team but declined to race Leg 1 after the pre-race controversy involving AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont (NED), is returning for Leg 2.
SI's keen VOR readers will recall that the week before Leg 1 started in Alicante the sponsor fired Mr. Tienpont and elevated watch captain Brad Jackson (NZL) to skipper, until a Dutch arbitration panel ruled on the eve of the race that Tienpont was not in breach of his contract and could continue as Skipper. Tienpont's return resulted in Salter and three others declining to sail Leg 1, but now he's obviously had a change of heart, or mind about Simeon – to say nothing of a think or two about his paycheck?
Jules Salter (GBR) is returning to AkzoNobel as navigator for Leg 2 Lisbon-Cape Town which starts Sunday. The In-Port race is Friday.
Perhaps even bigger news is that Volvo veteran Chris Nicholson (AUS) will join AkzoNobel for Leg 2 and beyond along with Peter van Niekerk (NED) and another sailor unknown to your Ed. Mr Tienpont will, indeed, remain as skipper – as we have been reporting all along.
This is Salter's fourth Volvo Ocean Race. He is recognized as one of the world’s best yacht race navigators, having been born on the UK's Isle of Wight and growing up racing on the challenging waters of the Solent. Jules won the VOR in 2008-09 with Ericsson Racing.
In the last edition of the VOR Mr Nicholson was skipper of the ill-fated Team Vestas Wind, which ran aground on a reef in the Indian Ocean in November 2014 on the second leg. The boat was severely damaged and the team made the decision to have it repaired, although that meant missing the next five legs. Navigator Wouter Verbraak (NED) was sacked after the embarrassing accident. This is the sixth VOR for Nicholson, who also sailed in two Olympics for AUS. (Vestas 11th Hour Racing, skippered by Charlie Enright (USA), that handily won Leg 1 of the current edition is a new and entirely different team, aside from the sponsor.)
Chris Nicholson (AUS) skippered the ill-fated Team Vestas Wind in the 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Peter van Niekerk has, to your Ed.'s knowledge, raced in only one previous VOR – the 2008/9 edition aboard Delta Lloyd, and has represented the Netherlands twice in the Olympics.
Peter van Niekerk on the helm for Delta Lloyd en route to Singapore during the 2008/9 Volvo Ocean Race.