PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG announced today that Shannon Falcone will sail on board PUMA’s Mar Mostro for Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 from Itajaí, Brazil, to Miami, Florida, USA. Falcone will replace bowman Casey Smith who injured his back during the last leg of the race from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí. Helmsman Kelvin Harrap also rejoins the team, returning from injury after missing Leg 5.
Puma Skipper Ken Read said that the team is really lucky to have Falcone on ‘stand by’ especially for a situation like this. “Losing Casey is a tough situation for our team, eased only by the fact that Shannon has a lot of experience with us – both in the last race and training this past summer. We are really happy that he is ready to go.”
Falcone, 30 from Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, will sail in his second Volvo Ocean Race with PUMA Ocean Racing beginning with Saturday’s In-Port Race in Itajaí. He was part of the PUMA team for the 2008-09 edition of the race, serving as trimmer and pitman for eight legs. Falcone is currently a member of the ORACLE Racing team training for the 34th America’s Cup. In 2010, he was on BMW ORACLE Racing’s extended crew, winner of the 33rd America’s Cup, and he has been a part of the Mascalzone Latino (2000) and Luna Rossa (2007) America’s Cup campaigns.
“The pressure is on,” said Falcone. “It’s always difficult joining a crew after a win, and I have some big shoes to fill in Casey’s absence. The guys did a great job the last leg, and we want to follow up with the same on this next leg to Miami.”
Smith (Brisbane, Australia) injured his lower back just before the start of the grueling Leg 5, and he stayed on board through the team’s first-place finish in the leg. He will remain at home in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, during the upcoming leg for treatment and rehab. He is expected to rejoin the team in Miami.
Harrap, who missed Leg 5 due to carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms as well as bursitis in his elbow, resumes his role with the PUMA crew this week.
Racing gets underway in Itajaí with the Pro Am Race on Friday, April 20, followed by the In-Port Race on Saturday, April 21, and the start of Leg 6 to the lone U.S. stop of Miami, Florida, on Sunday, April 22.