All change at Delta Lloyd

As Guillermo Altadill puts in a re-appearance and navigator Matt Gregory is 'moved on'

Thursday January 8th 2009, Author: Diana Bogaards, Location: United Kingdom
Team Delta Lloyd prepares itself for the upcoming tough legs to Rio de Janeiro (BRA). The expected rough seas, big winds and upwind courses require experience, especially on the helm of a VO70. The Dutch/Irish entry have announced three crew changes. Six times round the world sailor Guillermo Altadill (ESP) will join the crew as watch leader and 49er skipper André Fonseca (BRA) as helmsman/trimmer. Matt Gregory (USA) steps down as navigator. His replacement will be announced on Friday.

“Both Guillermo and Fonseca are excellent helmsmen," said skipper Roberto Bérmudez de Castro. "We all know each other very well, since we have sailed together in the past. The core team of Delta Lloyd remains the same and I am sure that the two new additions will be of very valuable assistance to the crew. Their presence will be a huge advantage in the team’s learning process and we will all gain a lot from their experience. Guillermo will help us get the utmost out of the boat. I am delighted that they are joining us on Delta Lloyd”.

Altadill, 46, is a highly experienced yachtsman, who raced more than 280,000 nautical miles. He competed in six round-the-world races, from which four under the flag of the Volvo Ocean Race/Whitbread. In 2001-02 he joined Assa Abloy as helmsman and watch captain. Four years later, he had the same position onboard Ericsson. Altadill finished first in The Race with Grant Dalton on Club Med and he was on Steve Fossett's Cheyenne on their successful attempt on the non-stop round-the-world record in 2004. Besides from ocean racing, he also has an extensive record in Olympic sailing in the Tornado and Soling and he participated in the Louis Vuitton Cup with Team Germany. On this Volvo Ocean Race Altadill left Team Russia after the first leg to Cape Town and he is currently building a new Open 60 to compete in the 2010 Barcelona World Race.

Altadill will strengthen Team Delta Lloyd for the upcoming two legs: “I am really happy to be back in the Race. To sail with Chuny and Stu Wilson again is great and it will be a bit like meeting up with an ex-girlfriend - very funny! I hope to help Delta Lloyd out as much as possible. The next two legs of racing will be very gruelling and more difficult, so the experience of the crew and the reliability of the boats will be of utmost importance.” Altadil replaces Ryan Houston (NZL) who will continue as helmsman/trimmer. As a result, Dutchman Ed van Lierde stays onshore with the intention to return in Rio de Janeiro.

Peter van Niekerk (NED) leaves the team, as he has to take up commitments with Alinghi. It was part of the agreement wit Team Delta Lloyd that Alinghi could ask him back on the team after leg two and three. Skipper and navigator need to work closely together and stay on the same path. This was no longer the case in the old situation with Matthew Gregory (USA). Team Delta Lloyd will announce his successor tomorrow.

Brazilian André Fonseca (30) will again interrupt his 49er campaign for the challenge of the Volvo Ocean Race. In his junior years, Fonseca won the Snipe World Title twice. He finished sixth at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and moved on to his first round the world race aboard Brasil 1three years ago. He gained a wealth of experience as helmsman and trimmer and returned to the Olympic circuit. At the 2008 Games in Qingdao, he claimed a seventh position overall after the Medal Race. He will start this post Olympic year as helmsman and trimmer of Team Delta Lloyd.

“These crew changes are necessary to ensure the best and safest racing in the upcoming two legs”, explains coach Maurice Paardenkooper (NED). “We needed more experienced helmsmen, who can control the boat in rough conditions. The upwind courses to China will be tricky, as well as the Southern Ocean to Rio. Any mistake can easily result in damage. Ed is a great sailor though and he fits in our team’s strategy of training talents, so it is our aim to have him back onboard. We wish Peter good luck with Alinghi and Matt with further projects.”

In addition to title sponsor Delta Lloyd, the Dutch/Irish syndicate is also supported by Chieftain Group, Tommy Hilfiger, OHRA Verzekeringen, Port of Rotterdam, Discovery Channel, Weather News and Hemels van der Hart.

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