Nicholson’s decision to fire Wouter makes me a little sad, but it isn’t really surprising, given some of the statements Nico has made since the grounding. I don’t think he (Nico) really appreciates the extent to which he himself contributed to the accident.

What happened to Vestas Wind doesn’t prove that Wouter was a bad navigator. It proves he was a human being. Nico failed to provide the kind of oversight and supervision that is an essential, non-delegable responsibility of the skipper when it comes to basic vessel safety. By handing off all navigational responsibilities to Wouter, Nico created a single point of failure. Yes, Wouter made a bad mistake. But he was operating in circumstances that predictably produce mistakes. It was Nico’s job as skipper to be the final backstop to prevent those mistakes from costing them the boat.

Anyway, Wouter’s out, and if Vestas returns to the race for the last few legs it will be with a different navigator. He won’t be superhuman; he may or may not be a better navigator than Wouter. Hopefully his skipper will have learned from his experience on Leg 2, and will do a better job of taking care of his boat.

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Tags: vor, volvo ocean race, team vestas wind, wouter verbraak, chris nicholson.

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