ADOR acts swiftly to replace injured crewmate

03 Jan 2015

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 3rd January 2015: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR), the UAE’s entrant into the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), has been forced to take trimmer and helmsman Phil Harmer off active crew duty on Azzam, the team’s racing yacht, for Leg 3 of the round-the-world race after the Australian suffered a wrist injury and fell prey to a persistent stomach bug.


Skipper Ian Walker and ADOR have immediately acted to replace Harmer for the 4,670 nautical-mile leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China, by calling up the team’s performance director and coach Neal McDonald – a veteran of five previous VORs.


Despite being clearly disappointed not to be onboard when Azzam left the dock, Harmer was nonetheless there to wave his crewmates off and wish them good luck for Leg 3.


“It was a tough decision not to sail Leg 3,” he said as he watched the Abu Dhabi yacht pull away. “We sat down as a team and came to the conclusion that the best thing was for me to sit this one out and come back strong in China.”


Harmer had been nursing a painful left wrist since injuring it during the fiercely windy inshore section at the start of Leg 2 in Cape Town. “It was a gybe in about 40 knots of wind and I got my arm wrapped in rope and then got it caught up in the winch,” he said. “I have had an MRI scan while I’ve been in Abu Dhabi and it’s not broken, but it is still very sore.”


When a virulent stomach bug prevented the Australian from eating for most of the last leg, the resulting weight loss was extreme with Harmer dropping an incredible 10 kilogrammes in a little over three weeks. Even back on dry land, he struggled to put weight back on, which effectively ruled him out of the leg to China.


“It wasn’t a decision I was putting my hand up to make,” Harmer confessed. “But I knew that if I did the leg I could end up losing another five kilogrammes - and there would be no coming back from that.”


Harmer will use the next few weeks to recuperate and try to build his strength before flying to China to welcome Azzam into Sanya. “I am going to head over to a specialist sports facility in the Canary Islands to rest up, get some sun, and try to get better in time for Leg 4 to Auckland.”


Follow Azzam’s progress on Leg 3 by using the Race Tracker on the ADOR website at

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