Sailing: 'Different views' see Humphries leave Volvo race

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The Independent Online

The first of what could be a spate of crew changes on the eight yachts in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet sees SEB watch captain Matt Humphries leaving the boat.

A diplomatically worded explanation from the former Whitbread skipper has Humphries quoted as saying: "I have been working with skipper Gunnar Krantz for a long time now, but we have different views on the future." Krantz replies: "It is sad Matthew will be leaving us... I wish Matthew the best of luck in his future endeavours."

Humphries is the second watch leader to depart after David Rolfe left the boat in Sydney. Rodney Keenan returns after other Sydney Hobart duties and Sean Clarkson returns to Team New Zealand.

And both the navigator, Genevieve White of Australia, and one of the crew, Sharon Ferris of New Zealand, are leaving the all-woman Amer Sports Too. Their replacements have yet to be announced but both are thought to be British.

Another navigator, Ross Field, has already made it clear he will not be fit after back and rib surgery to join News Corp during at least the fourth leg and maybe the fifth.

A big name replacement for Chris Larson, who cannot sail on leg three winner Assa Abloy because of commitments at the Key West regatta later this month, is promised by skipper Neal McDonald.

Changes on Knut Frostad's djuice may also not be so happy. There were long internal meetings of the djuice crew after a poor first leg and mediocre second. Frostad has said there will have to be changes and these include an intensive programme to improve the boat's speed performance. But an unhappy crew has spent hours thrashing things out in Auckland and Frostad is under intense pressure at home in Norway to deliver better results from the most expensive single sports sponsorship in his nation's history.

Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing broke a mast during training for the America's Cup on Hauraki Gulf yesterday. Earlier, the boats lost two keels.

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