An injury has forced Ross Field, the 52-year-old co-skipper and campaign director of News Corp, to quit from the sailing side of the VOR to hang up his sailing boots

Ross Field, the 52-year-old co-skipper and campaign director of News Corp has decided to hang up his sailing boots, at least for a while. A disappointed Field says that reality has finally kicked in.

Field, who has sailed this race four times, was injured on leg two of the Volvo Ocean Race when he was thrown from the wheel. He suffered cracked ribs and damaged vertebrae. He says he has had enough of chewing painkillers and will not be sailing with Jez Fanstone and the crew onboard News Corp for the next leg.

Field says his back injury has never really got any better. “I had the series of injections in Australia and New Zealand. It was good through the Southern Ocean but now the injections are wearing off. I am definitely not sailing this next leg. I really am in pain every day now when I am on the boat so it was really time to give it a rest.”

There will still be plenty to keep Field occupied and he is still involved in the sailing side as well as the support team. “I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the shore side of things and get things wrapped up and so there is plenty of work for me to do. It is disappointing but I am relieved in one way that I know that I am not going to be in pain and that I will only have to take pain killers once a day instead of three or four times a day.”

Meteorologist, Nick White, will be back on the boat for this leg, while watch leader/tactician Steve Cotton returns to New Zealand.

Reviewing the team’s performance on the last leg, from Rio de Janeiro to Miami, Field said, “It was a disappointing result and the blame squarely lies on my shoulders and Steve Cotton’s shoulders because we put the boat in a position where we did not perform well. But we made a fantastic comeback. We are in very, very good shape. We have a good boat and a good crew. We are making some changes in the navigation side, which have to happen now because I am stepping aside, but generally we are in very good shape”.

Looking ahead to the remaining four legs of the event Field is upbeat and positive. “We want to win and we are more than capable of winning. Everyone is saying that the event is over and that illbruck has won it. Well illbruck hasn’t won it. Illbruck has to finish to win it and there is plenty of sailing left. The Atlantic can kick up anything and the North Sea can kick up anything and you have to be aware of the situation, and we are aware of the situation. Illbruck could have a major failure and then it’s all open again. We are pushing just as hard as we were at the start of the race, in fact harder. We have a good boat, good boat speed and a good crew and there is no reason why we can’t get a second or third if illbruck just continues on but there is always that first there.”

News Corp’s nearest rivals are within reach and only two points separate third placed Amer Sports One with 25 points, Team Tyco with 24 points in fourth place and News Corp, currently in fifth position with 23 points.

As Field says, it’s not over until the fat lady sings, and she hasn’t even got on the stage yet.