Rob Greenhalgh has been called up by MAPFRE to boost their Volvo Ocean Race campaign and the experienced offshore sailor will now go straight into opposition with his younger sister, Libby, in Leg 2 starting next week. The Britons are the first brother and sister to compete in opposing boats in the race since Tanya (NED-Maiden) and Edwin (NED-Equity & Law) Visser competed against each other in 1989-90. Libby is the navigator of Team SCA.
MAPFRE skipper Iker Martínez (ESP) said, “We looked for a very, very experienced helmsman who knows these boats and sails. Rob’s track record is fantastic – with a victory in the race and a podium finish – and he is well-known for his ability as watch captain, his ability to drive very fast and he is also very strong physically.” Ironically, Libby Greenhalgh guided the women’s crew past MAPFRE to beat them into sixth place in the opening leg from Alicante to Cape Town. “I’m stoked to have him in the race against us. He’s been giving me advice since I got involved – and then he asked my advice too before joining MAPFRE. When I was wondering whether to do the project, he just sent me a simple text message: ‘Just Do It’. Having him around will give things a little extra spice for me. And yes, of course I want to beat him!” she exclaimed.
Her elder brother replaces Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) in the MAPFRE crew as one of two changes they have made after finishing seventh last Friday (November 7). Jean-Luc Nélias (FRA) took over as navigator from Nico Lunven (FRA). Greenhalgh brings considerable experience to Martínez’s crew. He has competed in the race three times before, winning it onboard ABN AMRO ONE in 2005-06.
He was also second in 2008-09 with Puma and fifth in the last edition in 2011-12 with current race leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. “I got the call during this stopover and it’s been a bit manic getting all my affairs in order at home ready to join the team. I always wanted to take part in this edition but because of other projects couldn’t commit until now,” he said. So how does he feel about competing against his younger sister?
“Well, it’s not for the first time. We’ve raced against each before in other forms of sailing. I’m looking forward to it,” he said. He added, “I know the first leg didn’t go so well for MAPFRE but it’s very early in the race. I still think we’ve got a very good opportunity to win the whole race. There’s some very strong sailors in the team.” Greenhalgh will join the MAPFRE crew after flying in to Cape Town from the United Kingdom on Friday morning and will compete in that day’s practice race. The fleet departs for the second leg to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, November 19.