Sailing: Woman navigator left high and dry by Brasil 1

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The Independent Online

In a brutally executed move, a tearful Adrienne Cahalan was yesterday chopped from the navigator's chair for the Brasil 1 team in the Volvo Ocean Race. The 41-year-old from Sydney was navigator through all the build-up and for the first leg, in which she was third, from Vigo, Spain, but her dismissal came like a bolt from the blue. She was the only woman among the 10-person crews on the seven boats in the fleet.

"I had no inkling at all that this was coming," she said, until called in at breakfast to be told the news by the team's chief executive, Alan Adler. "I was pretty upset about it and, yes, I shed a tear," she added, also disappointed that her skipper, five-time Olympic medallist Torben Grael, had not told her himself.

"Torben can be quite fiery, but I certainly wasn't singled out," she said. "They didn't really give me a reason except I didn't speak Portuguese and wasn't experienced enough."

This is Cahalan's fifth round-the-world campaign and she was flying home yesterday hoping, unexpectedly, to take part in her 14th Sydney to Hobart race.

A statement from Brasil 1's Bruno Doro said that one of the issues was "the great physical strength required for the job".