Having clocked up a string of poor results in the VOR so far, Knut Frostad has decided to make a radical crew change for the last two legs
Knut Frostad, skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race yacht djuice dragons, has decided to make radical changes on board in an effort to boost the team’s performance for the remaining two legs. French navigator, Jean-Yves Bernot, will step down and Erle Williams will return to the team.
“We needed a big change,” says Frostad, “We really had no alternative. The important thing for us is to have some good results on these two last legs and finish this project on an upside and not on a downside, and that is worth anything. The only thing I want to do when I finish this project is to say that we tried everything, we did our best.”
Replacing Jean-Yves will be Erle Williams, whose offshore and short-course tactical experience is highly suited to the tactical nature of the remaining two legs of the Volvo Ocean Race. “We need some fresh blood, we need a fresh mind and Erle brings some new spirit and some new energy into the team. He’s a very forceful and fighting competitor. For the kind of sailing we have for the next two legs, he’s a great guy to have onboard, definitely. He brings a lot of good tactical knowledge and his strength is definitely boat-to-boat racing. He has a clean and clear mind and he has confidence to make to make good decisions.”
Bernot explains, “It’s like in any sport. You have to adjust your crew to the opposition and the competition.” Frostad insists that he has a very, very good relationship with Bernot and confirms that they are good friends.
“This was a mutual decision,” says Frostad. “For some time now we have not been achieving results. I take full responsibility for our performance however it would not be prudent to continue with the current dynamic. I respect Jean-Yves a lot and there is no hard feeling at all. His work is highly valued which is why he will remain on shore and work with me for the rest of the race. He is still one of the most respected weather experts in the world.”
Says Bernot, “I am happy to be standing down for the rest of the race. It has not been easy. Knut and I have been talking about this for quite a while but we haven’t been able to find a solution. Change was overdue and although we tried to make adjustments, it was impossible until now. But that is the past and for now, we must do all we can for the team. If that requires me to stay on shore then I am pleased that the dragons, as a team, may benefit.”
Frostad concludes, “I feel cautious of raising expectations for the next leg. The changes we are making are not going to put us at the top of the leader board but they will make us more competitive and keep us in the game. That’s sport.”