Friday February 17th 2006, Author: Camilla Green, Location: none selected
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, Poortman was washed from the bow of ABN AMRO Two down the deck, his fall broken by one of the dagger boards. Colliding with the boards left Poortman with a number of injuries, including a deep cut along his right eyebrow as his head hit the deck during the fall and more seriously a lower back injury which has since been diagnosed as a dislocated tail bone. The facial cut was attended to on board by three stitches from crew medic George Peet. Poortman remained bedridden for much of the rest of the leg due to the pain of his back injury. While the facial cut is healing well Poortman’s tail bone will take between three to six weeks to heal. 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 on board 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 added: “It has not been easy for Johnny 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 on board 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 on board 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 local time on Sunday 19 February.