Media crew member Guy Salter considers the lessons from the in port racing during the build up to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race
Our Inshore probably didn’t go as well as we had hoped, but we still managed to put in a couple of reasonable results despite that. But in reality the Inshore isn’t the be all and end all of the race. If you looked at last time, ABN was last and then dominated the race after that. The Spanish boats showed that their time spent in Alicante has been well used, but then you would hope so. If the event had been in Lanzarote, the Ericsson team would have been very comfortable as well.
We didn’t start very well and the speed of most the boats were good. The Spanish seemed to have a bit of an edge, whether that was due to the conditions in Alicante or their local knowledge, I am not sure.
You certainly take a lot back from our experiences.
We had a lot of fun on the Pro-Am day and it was good to see just how much it means. The smiles on the faces of the customers were great to see, and there was really positive feedback.
Looking at this week it is just a matter of preparing, making sure we haven’t missed anything, making sure we have got no mistakes and getting nice and relaxed before the first leg.
The first leg everyone talks about getting out to Gibraltar, but there are a number of situations. Like with the Fastnet, you don’t need to be first out of the Solent to win the race. There is obviously a lot that goes on. The Doldrums is just as important, your positioning with the Azores High is just as important, so there are a lot of key different stages to the leg.
There is also the possibility of gear damage. Traditionally there has always been a lot of damage on this leg. Certainly in the last two Volvo races there has been a lot of damage to the boats, some more severe than others. There are also a lot of gates, which means that you can park up just south of the . first scoring gate. I remember that happening eight years ago in sight of every boat and the difference In Cape Town between first and last was 6-7 days.
It is going to be quite exciting and tight as all the boats seem to be on the same pace. It is going to be a nerve-wracking few weeks. We are pretty comfortable where we are at.
Our biggest competition is any number of six or seven boats out there. In reality, I don’t think that Delta Lloyd is going to be overly competitive on the first leg, just because they haven’t had the time. The boat is a fast boat, though, and there’s no reason why they won’t do well later on. I think at the moment they are still settling the crew in.
We know that Ericsson 3 are very quick, so they are big competitors. We know that the Spanish boats are both very quick and they have put the time in, and I think that Puma is fast. There isn’t anyone who isn’t fast. This is more significant than the first inshore as everyone is settling down and it’s useful to see how your sail designs have worked and learn to choose the right sail for the right sweet spot. It will be good fun, for sure.