Martin Kirketerp
IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race
Team Sanya’s Olympic gold medal-winning shore crewman Martin Kirketerp has again been called in at the last minute to join Mike Sanderson’s team, this time to replace sick sailor Jared Henderson.
It is the second time the 29-year-old Dane has stepped up to replace a sick crewmember, having replaced Ryan Houston in the in-port race in Auckland and Leg 5.

Forty-year-old Henderson, from New Zealand, has been struck by a sudden illness and following medical advice will sit out the PORTMIAMI In-Port Race and Leg 7.

Kirketerp has plenty of experience with quick-fire and high pressure racing having won Olympic gold in the 49er class at the 2008 Olympics — beating Team Telefónica’s duo Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández in the process.

Just one hour before the departure ceremony commenced in Miami, Kirketerp was still doing his shore crew duties, diving on Sanya and scrubbing the hull clean ahead of racing.

But switching his mind from shore crew to sailor wasn’t difficult, he said.

"You’ve just got to do, what you have to do,’’ he said. “Now, I’m not thinking about the shore duties and diving, I’m thinking about racing. You just have to get your head up to where you have to be.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s Leg 7 start, Kirketerp said he was heading into the race with a lot less nerves than when he last joined the team ahead of the Leg 5 race through the Southern Ocean.

"I’m definitely less nervous this time around, for several reasons,’’ he said. “In Auckland, that was an even shorter notice and that was the Southern Ocean and we had a horrendous weather forecast on the first night.

"So, I couldn’t have had any more of an adrenaline kick from that. This time it will be lighter, it’s not going to be 50 knots on the nose. For a new guy this is a good thing. You have time to ease in instead of being thrown to the wolf pack on day one.”

Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson said he was sorry to lose Henderson, but pleased to have the competent hands of Kirketerp on board.

"Poor old Jared Henderson has a nasty bug basically, he’s really not well, we’d hoped we could get him out sailing today in case he miraculously recovered overnight, but that’s not possible, he’s really sick,’’ he said.

"We’re really lucky we have a couple of options, Martin did the last leg with us so he’s qualified to sail today, he’s good to go.”

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