How can it go so wrong? The tension on board Ericsson clearly is much worse than appreciated. According to today's Sunday Telegraph conflict between the navigator, Steve Hayles, and one of the watch leaders, Guillermo Altadill expoded into a "physical confrontation involving a winch handle".
Thats no way to run a ship, certainly not a happy one. And it'll result in more changes to the Ericsson team, with Hayles leaving at the end of the next leg in Baltimore.
That's beyond a mere disagreement - that's the sort of aggression that a good skipper should stop instantly, diffusing and working on resolving. Maybe thats what was meant by other crew saying that Neal had too little ego. Maybe they needs a firmer hand to steer the boat to a common goal.
It's not hard to guess what caused the tension - something about being last, again. On the TV show on Friday night Steve Hayles seemed reasonably confident in the decisions he'd made. Was he right?
Looking back at Ericsson's route over the last Leg of the Volvo Ocean race its not obvious they made any significant tactical mistakes. Yes on day 3 they were a bit further north than the the fastest pack. But they were a lot better positioned than ABN2 which ended up overtaking them and taking the last podium slot. And they didn't get their tactics so misjudged that they had to drastically head south, dropping from first to last in the process as did ABN1.
Indeed often the losses for Ericsson happened during drag-races - such as when the fleet was heading to Cape Horn or past the Falklands. That's a boat speed or a trimming issue. But they started ok, just got increasing less competitive.
So maybe its the watch leader that should be leaving.