Grant Dalton, skipper of Amer Sports One, chats about his preparations for the next leg of the Volvo Ocean Race

Grant Dalton, skipper of Amer Sports One, chats about his preparations for the next leg of the Volvo Ocean Race – Leg 8 from La Rochelle to Gothenburg which starts this Saturday 25 May at 17h00 local time

Q: What preparations have you made for the next leg?

A: We’ve actually done nothing, other than our normal maintenance. We had a bad leg into Miami and the shouts were ‘fix it, fix it’, but I always feel if it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it. And that was justifiable with a good result into Baltimore. We had a pretty average result over to here [La Rochelle], but that was mainly created by a wrong tactical decision coming out of the Chesapeake, after leading out of the Chesapeake. So we haven’t done anything to change the boat. Speed wise, the times are a little down but the forecast isn’t necessarily bad for us, we just need more of the same, just to sail hard.

Q: According to statistics your team has sailed the least amount of miles. Would you agree?

A: I haven’t seen that stats, but it is exactly what happened with the catamaran last year, with Club Med. When they did the statistics at the end, we sailed 1,500 miles less and won by two and a half days, but sailed a slower average speed, which was a really interesting statistic. It’s not necessarily the right way to sail though, its an interesting stat that, but maybe that is a bit old school, maybe we are sailing too much down the middle, and we do tend to sail down the middle a bit. It is all right to sail less miles if you are doing it fast, but it is much better to go fast and longer. We run hot and cold a little bit basically, we’re not particularly consistent, and we need two reasonably consistent legs. If we had a real blinder into Gothenburg from here then we would have then secured our third place spot, and I guess right now I would be quite comfortable there. I would like to have a blinder and knock a couple of points back on News Corp and Tyco, and be able to forget about them.

Q: Is this a leg you like, have you sailed around there a lot?

A: I haven’t really, I have only sailed up to there once, in the Round Europe Race in 1994, and I liked it a lot. I thought it was quite good fun, but then I hadn’t just done nine months of intense racing beforehand! I’d done two days to get there. It’s just another leg, it will have its peculiarities, everyone is reading it as the soldier’s course but they never are. It never works that way, even though the short leg up to Baltimore turned out to be a minefield for some people. So it will just have its challenges like all of them.

Q: Have you made any more sail changes for this leg?

A: No, because we’re out of slots and out of money.

Q: Finally, are you pleased to see the girls make it here in time?

A: They and the shore crew have done an amazing job in getting the boat sorted and ready for the start. There was never a grumble, never a moan, or a doubt, I am in awe of the job that Lisa and the team have done.