Associated Press. By Bernie Wilson.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Dirk de Ridder will sail the fifth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race with Team Brunel, his first major competition since serving an 18-month suspension stemming from one of the biggest scandals in America's Cup history.
De Ridder will replace Laurent Pages, who broke two ribs during the stopover in Auckland, New Zealand. The team said Pages was injured when he tripped and fell.
De Ridder joins the crew for the toughest leg of the round-the-world race, from Auckland to Itajai, Brazil. The leg is 6,776 nautical miles and swings through the unforgiving Southern Ocean.
“It feels good,” de Ridder said in an email to The Associated Press. “It's not the perfect preparations but I'm pretty ready.”
Team Brunel is in third place overall.
The Dutchman has sailed the Volvo Ocean Race three times previously, winning it with illbruck Challenge in 2001-02 and finishing second with Merit cup in 1997-98 and second with Pirates of the Caribbean in 2005-06.
De Ridder had a $500,000 contract to sail the Volvo Ocean Race with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing but was suspended by the International Sailing Federation for allegedly altering a boat used in warmup regattas by Oracle Team USA prior to the 2013 America's Cup. De Ridder has denied involvement.
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