by Richard Crockett
One thing that Volvo crew don’t do is let on that there are problems within the team or amongst the crew. Which is why there has been so much speculation as to why MAPFRE was stone last into Cape Town?
Most pundits had them pegged as podium finishers as her skipper, Iker Martinez, won the first leg into Cape Town last time around.
Cracks are now beginning to appear, and one cannot help but think that navigation issues may have been the cause as it has just been announced that Jean-Luc Nélias, the man who helped mastermind Groupama’s win in the last Volvo Ocean Race, will take over as navigator for the second leg, starting on November 19.
Nélias was also navigator for Franck Cammas’s winning crew in 2011-12. He replaces Nico Lunven in the MAPFRE crew.
One can only speculate as to why Michel Desjoyeaux will also take no further part despite MAPFRE emphasising that it was never planned for Desjoyeaux to sail the entire race.
Desjoyeaux, the twice Vendée Globe winner on board for the first leg, will not be sailing any further stages in the 2014-15 race but remains available to assist the team from on-shore.
Desjoyeaux said: “The decision (for me) to no longer sail on board MAPFRE was taken by the team and me. They are not easy decisions to take, but it’s also part of the life of a team. Even if I’m no longer sailing, I’ve not wasted my time. MAPFRE is a great team with really good guys on board.”
His replacement is still to be announced.
The team said their boat had arrived in Cape Town generally in good shape despite some relatively minor problems with the engine, batteries and other small breakages.
What is clear though is that Iker Martinez wants to win this race, so they will bounce back, of that there is no question.
And to answer the question as to whether they are slow or not, according to Knut Frostad, every skipper is absolutely convinced that the boats are equal in terms of performance, so no, MAPFRE is not slow. Why would it be with an Olympic Gold medallist at the helm?