Ericsson Racing Team crew replacement on Leg 1 VOR

Eivind Melleby (NOR) crew on Ericsson 3. Ericsson Racing Team, Alicante Spain.

Ericsson Racing Team announces that Eivind Melleby, a 36-year-old Star sailor from Oslo, Norway, will join skipper Anders Lewander and the Nordic Crew for Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Melleby replaces Sweden's Martin Stromberg, who suffered a hand injury in August during practice at the team's training base in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Lewander expects Stromberg to rejoin the crew in Cape Town, South Africa, for Leg 2 and the remainder of the race.

'It's unfortunate that Martin suffered his hand injury. He's trained with us for a long time,' said Lewander. 'But Eivind helps strengthen our team. He's a pure downwind helmsman, and in our analysis of Leg 1 we felt that would be important.'

Melleby has raced a number of one-design boats, including the Star, Melges 24, Laser and Europe. He won a bronze medal at the Laser World Championship in 1995, and earlier this year he was the world's No. 7-ranked Star sailor.

Melleby joined the Nordic Crew last month for the delivery from the Canaries to Alicante, host port for the race start.

'I like the Volvo Open 70, it's all about feeling,' said Melleby, who has a wife and one-year-old daughter. 'I did as much driving on the delivery as possible to get a feel for the boat. It was easier than anticipated. The boat behaved really nice.'

Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race is scheduled to begin Saturday at 1400 hours Central European Time. The 6,500-nautical-mile leg to Cape Town, South Africa, is expected to take up to 24 days.