Paul Cayard has joined the Amer Sports One team for leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race. At a press conference in Auckland he explains the reasons why he’s joined up with Grant Dalton, the man he’s more used to competing against.
What are your reasons for joining the team?
There is some awesome sailing to be done outside the America’s Cup and Olympic classes sailing and the best part of it is down around this leg – around Cape Horn. I’ve done it once, and you could say that that should be sufficient, but it is still exhilarating and it will be fun to see a lot of things, the nature, the sea life, Cape Horn.
Another reason is to sail with Grant. I’ve only competed against him in the last race, but he’s the king of offshore round the world racing, so I will be interested to see how he runs the boat.
Also, because Dee Smith got injured and they needed a hand and I am on the board of directors of Nautor’s Swan, all things added up just right.
You did well on this leg last time, do you have great expectations this time?
Of course I have great memories of that last time, but I don’t necessarily have allusions of repeating that performance. It would be pretty hard to do, but I would much prefer to do this leg than leg two.
How are you going about pre-race planning?
This game is all about gathering the information about the weather and making a routing plan that optimises this boat’s potential to get down the track. Tactically you converge with the other opponents when you can take advantage of that, so you might gybe or tack when it suits you to take a gain on the other boats. The tactical game is based on the weather mostly, and Roger Nilsson (navigator), I understand from Grant, has been doing a great job with all that, and that will continue to be his job, and my job is just to get the information from Roger and try to work with the routing programmes we have, to figure out where we should go.
What are the chances of staying on board for leg 5?
Fairly unlikely because Dee has done a great job and he is coming back and I’m sailing a Star at an event I really want to do during the same time.
In all your recent sailing campaigns, you have been the skipper or the ‘head honcho’ in your syndicate. How easy is it going to be for you to take orders from the man sitting next to you?
Grant has got a great track record here and it’s really his programme. Part of the reason why I’m doing it, is that I am interested in how he does it. I think there is mutual respect for each other and I think we are in the right roles onboard to best use our skills, so I don’t think it will be too hard to take orders at all.
There has been talk of you joining the Volvo fleet since Cape Town. Is it a bit of a surprise that you have ended up with Nautor or were there other offers?
It certainly isn’t a surprise that it has ended up as Nautor. I have had relationship with this team from the inception. The very first meetings we had I was at. It just worked out well for me now. Cape Town was just too soon for me. I felt bad for Grant in Sydney with his broken ribs but I really wanted to be with my family, but it worked out now.
Where does it leave your commitments with Oracle Racing?
I have a good understanding with the management of Oracle Racing, and basically they allowed me to go and take part in this. I can seek permission to go and participate in other legs and other events.
There is a huge amount of publicity here in New Zealand about the future of the Volvo Ocean Race; you may have seen some of it when you got here. Do you have any views on the ways in which it should or shouldn’t go?