Bowman Gerd Jan Poortman has back and head injuries sustained on leg 3

The harsh reality of Volvo 70 sailing has today forced ABN AMRO TWO bowman, Gerd Jan Poortman to sit out the next leg of the Volvo Ocean Race due to injury. 


Travelling at around 25 knots on the first night out of Melbourne, Gerd Jan was thrown from the bow of ABN AMRO TWO down the deck – his fall was broken by one of the dagger boards but the force of the incident left Poortman with a number of injuries.  Gerd Jan sustained a facial cut as his head hit the deck during the fall and more seriously a painful lower back which has now been diagnosed as a dislocated tail bone.  The facial cut needed 3 stitches from crew medic George Peet and Poortman was bedridden for much of the remainder of the leg due to the pain of the back injury.  While the facial cut is healing well Poortman’s tail bone will take between 3 – 6 weeks to heal and after receiving medical advice he has been ruled out of the next leg. 


Poortman, 29, from the Netherlands won his place on ABN AMRO TWO after entering a worldwide competition to find the crew for ABN AMRO’s second boat in the Volvo Ocean Race.  He has been in considerable pain and has not been able to sit down properly since the incident however doctors are confident that after some time to rest and recover he will be back on board for the sixth leg from Rio to Baltimore.


The replacement onboard for leg four will be ABN AMRO’s reserve sailor Lucas Brun.  Brun, 22, from Brazil is the youngest sailor in the race and this leg will mark his debut offshore as part of ABN AMRO TWO.  For Lucas this leg is particularly significant as he will be sailing back into his home port of Rio de Janerio. 


Gerd Jan commented:  “These boats are harsh – they never stop, the fact that I was clipped on and prepared, and this still happened shows how brutal these boats can be.  The boys on the boat did a fantastic job of stitching up my face and taking on my duties but it is frustrating to be on board and not be able to do your job.  I am very disappointed to not be on for the next leg but that is yacht racing and I have to accept that however hard it may be.  I will now take some time to look after my injury and make sure that I am back on top form when the boats arrive in Rio.”


Seb Josse, skipper of ABN AMRO TWO commented: “It has not been easy for Johnny (Gerd Jan) in this last leg, he was in a lot of pain and a boat is not a good place to be when you are injured. I am really sorry to not have him onboard for the next leg to Rio as he is an awesome bowman, but we are all happy that Lucas will be part of the team sailing offshore this leg. We all hope Johnny is better soon and we look forward to having him back onboard for leg five.”


Lucas Brun commented: “Of course this is not the way I wanted to be on the boat, but I am happy.  I have to say as soon as I started the campaign I knew that the chance of not being on the boat for any leg was very real but this leg was the one that I really wanted to sail.  Arriving into Rio makes this even more exciting for me – it is my home town where I was born, grew up and lived all my life is going to be an amazing feeling.  Before that though, we have a lot of miles to race and I have to work hard with the guys who have all been sailing together since the start.  I am looking forward to Sunday – Rio here we come.”


The fleet will start leg four, from Wellington to Rio de Janeiro, at 1430 on Sunday 19th February.