New Zealand sailor Brad Jackson has walked away from the AkzoNobel entry in the Volvo Ocean Race after Simeon Tienpont was reinstated as skipper before the first leg overnight.
Just hours before the start of the 45,000 nautical mile round-the-world race, which got under way early today, confusion reigned over who would skipper the Dutch team after media reports out of the Netherlands suggested Tienpont won his arbitration hearing against AkzoNobel and was seeking to be reinstated to the team.
AkzoNobel sent out a statement saying Tienpont had returned to lead the team while Jackson and three other sailors decided not to take part in the first leg from Alicante to Lisbon.
"Jackson, Jules Salter (Great Britain) and Joca Signorini (Brazil), have decided not to sail the first leg and are considering their future plans whilst ensuring that the boat is ready to race today and assisting AkzoNobel to achieve its goal. Rome Kirby (USA) has also decided not to sail," the statement read.
Tienpont was removed from the team last weekend for what was only described by AkzoNobel officials as a breach of contract. The breach was apparently related to Tienpont's management company Steam, which had been contracted to manage all facets of AkzoNobel's entry.
His termination saw Jackson, a veteran of six Volvo campaigns, elevated to skipper a week out from the start of the race.
"This has obviously been an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved since we arrived here in Alicante just 10 days ago. I have now reached an agreement with AkzoNobel and all parties now want to put this behind us and focus on our campaign for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18," Tienpont said in a statement.
"I would like to thank Brad Jackson for stepping up at such a challenging time to keep team AkzoNobel moving forward with our preparations for the race," he added.
• Alicante to Lisbon
• 1450 nautical miles
• The teams: AkzoNobel (Netherlands), DongFeng Race Team (China), MAPFRE (Spain), Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Denmark/USA), Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (Hong Kong), Clean Seas Turn the Tide on Plastic (United Nations), Team Brunel (Netherlands).