Iker Martinez, the helmsman on the in-port races and overall co-skipper of the team has elected to sit out the leg from Rio to Boston.
The team says this is a scheduled rotation; an effort to keep the crew fresh ahead of the final burst of legs that close out the last two month of the Volvo Ocean Race.
"Today, we decided on the crew for the next leg and I will not be racing on the boat," Martinez said. "With this change, we start with some rotations in our crew, so we can rest at some point and regain some strength."
The Telefonica Blue team will send Mike Pammenter and David Vera back to sistership Telefonica Black. Returning aboard the Blue boat is Laurent Pages, who has recovered from a shoulder injury, as well as Daryl Wislang and Pepe Ribes. With all the returning crew, the team has enough sailors to give Martinez the time he says he needs to recover.
"This race has been pretty tough. It's quite complicated and on the physical side it's not easy," says the Olympian who won a Silver medal this past summer in Qingdao. "When you're six weeks at sea, like on this last leg, you can feel your body is not working as well anymore.
"I think I'll be much better in Boston. I'm going to do a lot of exercise and a lot of work to be much stronger there. Thinking about the finish of the race it's going to be helpful to have a rest now as all the legs are coming very, very fast."
Martinez notes that on the finishing ‘sprint' of the race, which sees four offshore legs and three in-port races over the final seven weeks, plenty of scoring points are available. And with his team just two points out of second place, behind PUMA and Ericsson 4, time is running out to make a move.
"There are still a lot of points available," he said. "We think these legs are really good for us and hopefully we're going to do a very good job.
"I am sure it will feel weird when I see them sail away on Saturday, but I think this is the best decision for me and the team."