#VOR - Musandam-Oman Sail skipper Sidney Gavignet has been added to Dongfeng Race Team's crew as they prepare for the start of Volvo Ocean Race Leg 7 from Newport to Lisbon this weekend.
Gavignet comes fresh off the MOD70 trimaran's smashing of the Round Ireland speed sailing record last week to stand in for fellow Frenchman Eric Peron, who will return for the final two legs.
It also marks the latest in a series of crew rotations by skipper Charles Caudrelier on the Leg 6-winning yacht, after Kerry sailor and fellow VOR vet Damian Foxall lent his experience on Leg 5.
“He’s a Volvo Ocean Race expert, and I’ve been wanting to sail again with him for a long time," said Caudrelier of Gavignet. "We sailed together 12 years ago and it went really well so I can only hope this leg will be just as good.”
In other crew change news, Team Brunel have added CAMPER sailor Adam Minoprio to their line-up for the remaining legs.
The youngest ever sailor to be a match-racing world champion "could just make the difference in the last three short legs," said skipper Bouwe Bekking.
And Team Vestas Wind will welcome Australian sailor Tom Addis and Simeon Tienpont, Dutch veteran of the most recent America's Cup-winning crew, when their yacht is ready to rejoin the race in Lisbon for Leg 8 next month.
Their return to the fleet after their devastating grounding in the Indian Ocean late last year is sure to bring more eyes to the action as the finish line draws closer.
No one could be more pleased than VOR chief Knut Frostad, who tells the Yacht Racing Forum about the race's improving commercial position in a still-tough economic climate.
Another happy man is Ian Walker of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, who feels his team's performance in the race so far is set to eclipse the "injustice" of setbacks during the 2011-12 race, which included a broken mast in the first race, and limping towards Brazil in the Auckland-to-Itajaí leg with hull damage.
But as he tells Yahoo! News, the Azzam skipper is hesitant to call their current performance "revenge".
"It's like a Formula One race. If you haven't got the car, never mind how good the driver is. We had the potential to win but we never had the opportunity to demonstrate it."
Walker adds: "The race is not over yet at all. But we are in a strong position, a position where we don't have to beat Dongfeng in every leg. Which is important."