SANYA, China, January 29 – Dental problems – one of the worse curses that can strike an offshore sailor in the middle of the ocean – have forced MAPFRE’s Anthony Marchand out of the next leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Sanya to Auckland.
The Frenchman, 29, is one of the Spanish team’s obligatory under-30 sailors on board but was plagued with tooth trouble for several, debilitating days during the middle of Leg 3 from Abu Dhabi to Sanya on the southern tip of China.
“I was ill for about a week with a high temperature. Luckily, Xabi (skipper Fernández/ESP) covered my watches for five days to ensure the crew were covered,” he said from Sanya.
“I rested and recovered my strength to be able to finish the leg well.”
He continued: “If it hadn’t been for my problem, it would have been a great leg. Everything was caused by a problem that I had before the start in Abu Dhabi. The typical story of a tooth that’s bugging you and always comes back.”
Marchand has now flown home to France for treatment. “I want to return stronger and with confidence,” he concluded.
MAPFRE edged out Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) in a thrilling showdown for fourth place by a matter of minutes on Tuesday.
Earlier, Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) had taken line honours to become the first team from China to win a stage in the 41-year-old race.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) clinched second place and are right on Dongfeng’s shoulders, one behind on five points with six legs to race.
Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) claimed their first podium place of the race with third spot while Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) finished in sixth later that evening.
MAPFRE will confirm in the next few days who will replace Marchand for Leg 4.
Their skipper Iker Martínez missed Leg 3 to concentrate on Rio Olympic preparation training for 2016 but is expected to take over again from Fernández for the stage from Sanya to Auckland, New Zealand, starting on February 8, with the race tantalisingly poised.