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Volvo teams change crews

SEB will replace Gavin Brady with former News Corp crew member Steve Cotton  

LA ROCHELLE, France -- Several teams in the Volvo Ocean Race have made crew changes ahead of leg eight -- which moves from ocean racing to short course coastal racing.

Overall race leader Illbruck has made one change to its crew with the addition of American Ed Adams, who has been involved with Illbruck throughout the race but not always as a crew member.

Skipper John Kostecki was quoted on the race's official Web site saying: "I felt we've been weak on some of the shorter legs closer to the land."

Having won leg seven, taking her fourth leg victory in the round-the-world race, the Illbruck crew now has a virtually unassailable lead of eight points with just two legs left to sail.

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Wins in the third and fifth leg have allowed Assa Abloy to replace Grant Dalton's Amer Sports One, which will not make any crew changes on leg eight, as the top challenger to Illbruck.

Neal Macdonald's Assa Abloy, which won second place in leg seven, will replace Spaniard Guillermo Altadill with Frenchman Jules Mazar.

Djuice's team navigator Jean-Yves Bernot, France's most famous navigator, has stepped down. Team New Zealand's Erle Williams, who sailed with Djuice on leg three, will replace Bernot and assume the additional responsibility of making the final decision on all tactical calls, the race's official Web site reported.

Former News Corp crew member Steve Cotton, who left the team in Miami, Florida, will return on leg eight on board Sweden's SEB. Cotton will be replacing Gavin Brady.

News Corp has swapped one member of the British team sent to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 with another with Stuart Childerley, returning home for business commitments, being replaced by Jeremy Robinson.

Tyco announced two crew changes with Grant Spanhake replacing Richard Meacham who is returning to Team New Zealand's America's Cup crew, the Web site reported. Mike Quilter, veteran round-the-world racer, will also return to replace Damian Foxall.

French sailor Christine Briand returns to Amer Sports Too, which was forced to retire with a broken mast in leg seven, to replace Eleanor Hay. Briand, who has sailed before in the Whitbread race, will serve as tactician on the all-female boat.

Leg eight begins on May 25 from La Rochelle, France to Gothenburg, Sweden.


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