Further controversy has erupted on the eve of the Volvo Ocean Race, with Dutch media reporting axed skipper Simeon Tienpont has won his arbitration hearing against AkzoNobel and is seeking to be reinstated to the team.
Tienpont was removed from the team last weekend for what was only described by officials as a breach of contract. His termination saw New Zealand sailor Brad Jackson, a veteran of six Volvo campaigns, elevated to skipper just a week out from the start of the race, which gets underway in the early hours of Monday morning (NZT).
According to NOS - the Dutch national television - Tienpont received a "favourable decision" from the Netherlands Arbitration Institute and is travelling to Alicante today to discuss his return on the boat with the crew.
Team AkzoNobel issued a brief statement to the latest turn of events: "We are evaluating the current situation and working with Simeon Tienpont," said spokesman Joost Ruempol.
If Tienpont is reinstated, it is not known what this will mean for Jackson's position as skipper.
The latest turn of events will be another distraction for the crew after a tumultuous week.
Earlier in the week Jackson spoke of his team's determination to move past the late drama.
"We have been through a difficult time since Simeon's departure, but I'm proud of the way everyone at team AkzoNobel has responded and now it's time for us to focus on the race," he said.
"I'm grateful for the support I have received from within the team. It's not the ideal preparation for the race that we had hoped for, but I know we can move forward quickly and be racing hard on start day."
The breach of contract was related to Tienpont's management company STEAM, which had been contracted to manage all facets of AkzoNobel's entry.
"The breach was serious enough for AkzoNobel to terminate the contract with immediate effect and AkzoNobel then took over the full management of the team. Simeon was offered the option to continue as skipper but opted not to continue and has left the team," AkzoNobel said in a statement last weekend.
Tienpont then issued a counter statement, claiming he was not clear on the reasons for his termination.
"They talk about a contract break, which is absolutely unfounded and is very damaging to my reputation, especially in view of the timing, just before the start of the race," he said.
"I can only guess that it is about a small budget overrun on a safety issue, but we have always been 100 per cent transparent to AkzoNobel about our financial affairs and all our expenses have been made with their approval. It is them, not me, who is in clear breach of the contract."
Tienpont is not new to controversy after being implicated in the cheating scandal that tainted Oracle Team USA's second victory in 2013, as Tienpont admitted altering one of the team's AC45s used during the America's Cup World Series.