Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Kids range

Erle Williams signs on for yet another Volvo Ocean Race

by Volvo Ocean Race Media on 17 Jan 2009
Erle Williams in 2009 about to embark on another Round the World race aboard Puma Racing. Volvo Ocean Race/Sally Collision

New Zealand's Erle Williams cancelled a month-long family cruising vacation to take up a role as helmsman on PUMA Ocean Racing for the next two legs or maybe more, of the Volvo Ocean Race.

'I am not popular at home but you have to go when you have to go,' said the 50 year-old racing veteran who has four Whitbread and Volvo campaigns under his belt

'Luckily I have a family that understands and I have promised to make it up to them tenfold when I get back.'

From the early stages of the PUMA campaign, Williams was on standby while he pursued other projects.

'Ken mentioned being a reserve for the team because of injuries and crew changes and I said yes. Then next thing I got the call about six weeks ago, so I am back again and it's fun to be back.

'I was about to do Cape to Bahia with Rambler and was looking forward to a nice light run but now I am finding myself going on a little upwind beat.

'I have sailed a lot with Ken and the guys on the boat so it should be an easy slide into the programme. We are in a great position so it is very exciting.'

Williams started his Whitbread career in 1981 when as a 21 year-old boatbuilder he joined the team of Flyer, skippered by race legend Cornelius van Rietschoten. There, he worked alongside another dynamic Kiwi and Volvo Ocean Race legend, Grant Dalton.

It was a winning campaign yet it was another 16 years before he returned to the race, this time as co-skipper with Gunnar Krantz on Swedish Match, which finished third overall.

He donned the vibrant pink overalls for three legs as tactician and watch leader on Djuice Dragons in 2001-02 then in 2005, a week before the race started, he joined Paul Cayard's Pirates of the Caribbean as helmsman.

In between races, he also took part in four America's Cup campaigns and as a result has earned a reputation as one of the best drivers in the business.

'I enjoy Volvo Ocean racing more than America's Cup racing - smaller, tighter teams and much more exciting sailing. You get to work on the bow and the helm and do a bit of trimming whereas on America's Cup you get stuck in one job. It's pretty boring.

'I have been brought in as driver/trimmer so I will just slide in and help them out. I am concerned on this leg that some of the boats will not reach Qingdao because these boats are not designed to go upwind in 30 knots, so for us it is a case of just getting there.'

Sail-World: Erle Williams started sailing career sailing Flying Ants, before moving in 18ft skiffs sailing with John Lasher. He began his Round the World Race career aboard the Dutch yacht Flyer , skippered by Cornelius van Rietschoten in 1981 along with feloow 18ft skiff sailors, Joe Allen and Grant Dalton. He then sailed aboard KZ-7 in the 1986/87 Louis Vuitton Cup as bowman, before resuming his Round the World racing. He is one of the few people in the world to have helmed a monohull at over 40kts - a feat he achieved in the last Volvo Ocean Race.

Wildwind 2016 660x82Southern Spars - 100Naiad

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line - Oh, and by the way we won a million dollars
Sailing history has been made by a New Zealand crew in winning the richest prize ever offered in sailing July 11, 2016 - Sailing history has been made by the New Zealand crew of Phil Robertson, Stu Dodson, Will Tiller and James Wierzbowski in winning the richest prize ever offered in sailing - $US1million (NZD $1.37m), with their nail-biting win in the World Match Racing Championships in Sweden.
Posted on 14 Jul
Rio 2016 - Yachting New Zealand defends Olympic selection practices
Yachting New Zealand has responded to wide-spread international criticism of its selection practices Yachting New Zealand has responded to wide-spread international criticism of its selection practices and criticism by the Chairman of the NZ Sports Disputes Tribunal, Sir Bruce Robertson of the way it treated two Olympic sailors after they had qualified New Zealand for the 2016 Olympic sailing regatta at the ISAF World Sailing Championships in santander in September 2014.
Posted on 9 Jun
Gladwell's Line - Olympic Appeal over in NZ but hotting up in Oz
The 2016 New Zealand Olympic selection process came to an end on Monday night in Auckland The 2016 New Zealand Olympic selection process came to an end on Monday night in Auckland with the announcement at the end of a Mediation Hearing by the Chairman of the Sports Disputes Tribunal, Sir Bruce Robertson, that he would not overturn the two non-selection decisions by Yachting New Zealand.
Posted on 2 Jun
Rio 2016 - Murdoch confirms that he won't Appeal tight selection call
Double Olympian Andrew Murdoch has confirmed that he will not Appeal the decision of the Yachting New Zealand selectors Double Olympian Andrew Murdoch has confirmed that he will not Appeal the decision of the Yachting New Zealand selectors who gave the nod for Rio 2016 to Josh Junior, who will be on his first Olympic regatta. 'I don't think I would get a result in my favour out of the back end of it,' Murdoch told Radio Sport. ït would also hinder Josh's preparation as well.'
Posted on 12 May
Olympic board sailor lashes out as Spanish hope for Olympic windfall
2012 Olympian JP Tobin has hit out at Yachting New Zealand's selection policy for Rio 2012 Olympian JP Tobin has hit out at Yachting New Zealand's selection policy for Rio that has left the boardsailing classes vacant for August's Games, according to a story published on the stuff.co.nz website. The online news arm of Fairfax media has picked up comments from Tobin's Facebook page.
Posted on 12 May
Rio 2016 - Yachting NZ fails to nominate in three Qualified Classes
Yachting NZ have only nominated two sailors in a second tranche of 2016 Olympic selections for five qualified places. Yachting New Zealand have only nominated two sailors in a second tranche of 2016 Olympic selections for five qualified places. Two singlehanded sailors have been added to the Kiwi Olympic team in the two Mens singlehanded classes - the Finn and Laser. Appeals are being lodged today by two sailors in the Womens events.
Posted on 10 May
Will NZ's most successful Olympic Sailing event cop the Selection axe?
New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain in September 2014. In two of those the RS:X Windsurfing event, New Zealand is unlikely to be represented in the Men's event, and in the Women's event, Natalia Kosinska would appear to be a borderline selection.
Posted on 2 May
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - First leg lottery dictates RSX leaderboard
2016 Olympic aspirant Natalia Kosinska had another trying day at the Sailing World Cup Hyeres 2016 Olympic aspirant Natalia Kosinska (NZL) had another character-testing day at the Sailing World Cup Hyeres in the Women's RSX Windsurfer. However, she moved up the leader board to lie 28th overall in the 40 strong fleet and placed ninth in the first race of Day 2.
Posted on 29 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Strong team but is Yachting's policy too extreme?
On Monday morning the New Zealand Olympic Committee announced a team of ten sailors to compete in five double-handers On Monday morning the New Zealand Olympic Committee announced a team of ten sailors to compete in five events at the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta. However despite qualifying in all ten Olympic classes, will only seven be sent?
Posted on 14 Mar
NZL Sailing Team - Three World Champions named in five events for Rio
The NZ Olympic Committee have announced a team of ten sailors to contest five events The NZ Olympic Committee have announced a team of ten sailors to contest five events, this morning at Wakatere Boating Club on Auckland's North Shore. Three of the crews named have won world championships in the current Olympic cycle in their respective classes.
Posted on 13 Mar