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VOR: Fontes (POR) replaces Hayles (GBR) as navigator aboard Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag

CAPE TOWN – Antonio Fontes (POR) has replaced Steve Hayles (GBR) as navigator for Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag in the Volvo Ocean Race. The team made the announcement on Wednesday. Sailing Illustrated first broke the news on Monday that Hayles left the team after a row with skipper David Witt (AUS).

Word of Hayles’ departure began circulating after Sailing Illustrated reported that a Rule 69 protest has been filed against Witt and Hayles over a video that was taped on Leg 2.

“It’s been great to work with David and the rest of the Scallywag crew, preparing this project from the beginning and getting it off the start line,” Hayles said. “But I’ve decided to leave the boat in Cape Town.”

Fontes sailed with Scallywag in training Leg 0 and was on loan to team AkzoNobel in Leg 1. Now the former Mini Transat sailor is back with Scallywag for the Southern Ocean.

“It’s fantastic to be back on board with the Scallywag team,” he said. “I’ve always looked forward to racing in the Southern Ocean and I can’t wait to get going on Sunday.”

Hayles has been assisting in the transition to ensure the team has a strong navigational plan for Leg 3.

“We’re sad to see Steve leave us,” Witt said. “He’s been a great asset, with his experience, in getting us ready to compete with some of the best teams in the world. Now it’s up to Antonio and the rest of us to step our game as we head into the Southern Ocean and prepare for the leg home to Hong Kong next month.”

Leg 3 from Cape Town to Melbourne starts Sunday.

Antonio Fontes has replaced Steve Hayles as navigator onboard Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag in the Volvo Ocean Race.