17 October 2017
Three-time Volvo Ocean Race winner Brad Jackson has been announced as the new skipper of the Dutch Volvo Ocean Race entry team AkzoNobel for the 2017-18 edition of the 83,000-kilometre around the world race.
The forty-nine-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand is competing in his seventh Volvo Ocean Race after coaching the Swedish all-women entry Team SCA in the 2014-15 edition.
Jackson will take on the skipper role as well as his watch captain commitments shared with three-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran and 2008-09 edition winner Joca Signorini. Jackson’s appointment follows the recent departure of Simeon Tienpont from the team.
The news regarding the removal of skipper Simeon Tienpont came on the eve of the In-Port Race this past weekend. The move is understandably controversial.
Debate is still raging following Tienpont’s dismissal, as there are arguments over contractual obligations.
AzkoNobel stated at the timethat “Tienpont has left Team AkzoNobel after what the team said was a breach of contract.” They also claimed that Simeon was offered the option to continue as skipper but opted not to continue.
Tienpont has not been pleased with how AkzoNobel has characterized this incident, claiming that “AkzoNobel unlawfully terminated its contract with Steam Ocean (managed by Tienpont) during the Prologue leg”.
In a statement Teinpont claimed that “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,”.
“I can only guess that it is about a small budget overrun on a safety issue, but we have always been 100% 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.”
Whatever the case may be, AzkoNobel are moving on with Jackson.
Jackson is one of the world’s most experienced and highly regarded professional ocean racers and his name is synonymous with the Volvo Ocean Race.
“It’s a privilege to lead a team of people as talented and committed as this one – both on the water and on shore,” Jackson said. “The credit for the quality of team AkzoNobel should go to Simeon Tienpont.
“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, which begins in just six days’ time.
“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.”
He was 25 when he won the 1993-94 Whitbread Round the World Race (the Volvo Ocean Race’s previous title) aboard the maxi yacht New Zealand Endeavour, skippered by fellow Kiwi Grant Dalton.
Jackson finished second in the 1997-98 Whitbread Race on Dalton’s new maxi Merit Cup and then fourth in the 2001-02 Volvo Ocean Race, racing under Kevin Shoebridge aboard Team Tyco, before pulling off back-to-back wins in 2001-02 – with Mike Sanderson on ABN AMRO 1 – and in 2005-06 with Torben Grael on Ericsson 4.
In 2011-12 Jackson finished third in the Volvo Ocean Race as watch captain aboard Ken Read’s Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg.
As well as never having finished lower than fourth in any of his six Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, Jackson’s record of three race victories is matched by just two other sailors, fellow New Zealanders Stuart Bannatyne and Mark Christensen.
As well as Signorini, Jackson’s crew includes three-time Volvo Ocean Race competitor and 2008-09 edition winner Jules Salter, 2005-06 competitor Luke Molloy, Brazilian Olympic gold medalist Martine Grael, Danish match racing skipper Nicolai Sehested, young up-and-coming New Zealand sailor Brad Farrand, and 23-year-old Bermudian Emily Nagel – the youngest female sailor in the current edition of the race.
The team will announce the ninth crew member for Leg 1 in the coming days.