Parting comments from Dennis Conner and Hugo Stenbeck at the end of their regatta
While Team Dennis Conner’s fate hangs in the balance as they await the outcome of a protest lodged against One World, the situation for the Swedish Victory Challenge looks more certain – they are out of the Louis Vuitton Cup and with it the chance to race for the America’s Cup.
A shock for the Americans, a successful start for the Swedes. So how did they view their performances?
“While I am disappointed in the way the boat performed in the series, I thought the boat was considerably faster than it was relative to OneWorld when we sailed in round one and I think we made considerable strides. I’m sorry we didn’t do better for those of our fans but we were up against a very well-sailed boat. I’d like to congratulate Peter and James Spithill for a job well done. They didn’t give us many openings or make many mistakes – I watched very carefully and I didn’t see any. So well done to Peter and the guys.”
What went wrong with the Team Dennis Conner campaign?
“I think we can all think of things in our programme that could have been better. Certainly having your boat on the bottom of the ocean isn’t a very good way to have two-boat testing.
“I think we were a little behind because if we had been down here racing against some of the other guys in September I think we would have known that we had a little way to go. We didn’t realise we were a bit off the pace until round robin one and we had to wait until that was over to do something about it. Whereas I think if we’d had two boats our learning curve would have been further up the ladder when round robin one started.”
Did he think that boatspeed was at the heart of their problems?
“I think the boat’s a good boat and it still has more to go. I am not disappointed in the boat. I am disappointed in our results because we could have done better. In the past I’ve had boats that we’ve got the best out of and we haven’t done well. It seems like I always have an excuse but this time I don’t think it’s the boat.”
And would he come back?
“Well, we haven’t finished this one yet. I’m going to wait and see how Daintry feels about it, she’s very important to me. And I’ll see how Tom and the rest of the guys feel about the future because it wouldn’t be the same without my friends, for me. I’m doing this for the passion and the thrill of being involved in a very special event. I take a lot of pleasure out of being here with people I really like, who are wonderful people, who I’ve known all my life and are lifelong friends, not just in the Americas Cup. I don’t have to make a decision about the future right now. My short term plans are to stay in Auckland until the event is over and fulfil any obligations I have to my corporate sponsors and my friends and then I’m going to race in the Honolulu race in July.
Hugo Stenbeck – Son of the late Jan Stenbeck, head of Victory Challenge.
“I think we surpassed my father’s expectations. He started off saying we had a 2% chance, then he said 3%, 4%, 5% and I think we proved it was far higher than that. I’m very happy with the crew. I haven’t contributed that much but Magnus and the others have been superb and it’s been a great experience.”
Would he come back?
“Ross Blackman summed it up the best when he said watch out, you’re going to catch Americas Cup fever, and I think that might have happened. I’d like to say yes, but we’ll see. “