Jon Gunderson, a 27-year old from Auckland, New Zealand will join Gurra Krantz and his VOR team on Sweden's SEB

Jon Gunderson, a 27-year old from Auckland, New Zealand will join Gurra Krantz and his team on Sweden’s SEB for the Volvo Ocean Race replacing French sailor Pascal Biddeford.

Gunderson, known more usually as ‘Gundy’, was formerly a crewmember onboard the Australian entry, Team News Corp, with whom he sailed the first three legs of the Volvo Ocean Race. ‘Gundy’ has a vast offshore racing experience, and amongst other wins, he has been a crewmember onboard the winning boat in two Sydney to Hobart Races, in 1999 and in 2000.

“It’s great being back in the race again, especially with Team SEB since I know most of SEB’s crew ” says Jon Gunderson who made it clear that he didn’t intend to miss out on racing in the Volvo Ocean Race. “It has always been my goal to do the race and to be back is fantastic.” Gundy has been spotted for the past couple of days sporting his new Team SEB gear and wearing an ear-to-ear smile.

This brings SEB’s tally of New Zealanders onboard to six, as ‘Gundy’ is stepping onboard to replace the French sailor Pascal Biddeford, who was hired for leg four.

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew, together with the shore team, have been working round the clock to repair the damage done to SEB after her dismasting in the Southern Ocean, during leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race from Auckland to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

After a lengthy journey, the new carbonfibre mast arrived in Rio on Saturday 23 February, having been sent from Gothenburg in Sweden. The boat arrived by freighter from Chile the day after.

Since then, the boat builders, shore team and crew have worked tirelessly, repairing the damage, which occurred to the boat and hull when the mast was lost overboard. The new mast has now been stepped and tuned and the crew will now spend a few days out on the water fine-tuning the new rig and sails before they set off on the 4,450 nautical mile leg to Miami, where they will be certainly looking for a podium finish.

“It feels good having a whole boat and mast again and we are longing for the start now” says skipper Gurra Krantz, adding, “it has been a major operation getting the boat and the new mast to Rio. The whole Team SEB has done a tremendous job to make the boat of schedule.”

The fifth leg of this nine-stage event will start from Rio de Janeiro on Saturday 9 March, at 16:30 GMT (13.30 local time). The fleet is estimated to arrive in Miami on 27 March.