After a calamitous seventh place in the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, skipper Knut Frostad arrived in Sydney in fourth place with pride restored

After a calamitous seventh place in the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, courtesy of a headboard problem, skipper Knut Frostad arrived in Sydney in fourth place with pride restored. From Cape Town to Sydney, the Davidson design has started to show some of its potential.

“I think we have proved ourselves,” said Frostad in Sydney. “We obviously hoped for an even better position as we were leading the race down in the Southern Ocean, and then we broke too many things off the Kerguelen Islands so we didn’t have the chance to stay in the lead. We had the speed and we sailed very well, which was good for us to know.”

Djuice secured fourth place during a brinkmanship sprint towards Sydney Heads with Grant Dalton’s Amer Sports One. Dalton blinked first and as Amer Sports One lay on its side, Djuice sluiced through. “We knew we had good pace and better speed on them downwind, so we tried to get past on the outside at first and we got equal.

“We gybed first and then the breeze started picking up more and more and more and we had some pretty hairy gybes in 35 knots of wind – we had all the sails up – maximum speed. The first gybe they wiped out and we had a perfect gybe, the next gybe we had another perfect gybe at full speed, then they wiped out again, then it was all over.”

Before the start, Dalton opined that Frostad was damaging his chances opting for the untested Davidson design (this was before he opted for the Mani Frers designed Amer Sports One). “It was Grant Dalton that criticized it,” laughed Frostad, “and you can ask him about our speed now!”

The Eclipse Island waypoint – criticised prior to the event but an inspired move in retrospect – denied many of the Southern Ocean veterans their quota of adrenalin, as Frostad points out. “We had an awesome time in the Southern Ocean – it was almost too easy! It was a very quick trip in the Southern Ocean, we never experienced too much breeze – I don’t think any boats had more than 50 knots. Suddenly we were finished, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.”

Gear failure was also a problem on this leg – a problem that affected every boat in the fleet – but after his experience in the first leg, Frostad is clearly touchy about its effects. “For us it was bad as we were in the lead at the Kerguelen Islands when our mainsail ripped in two places – and then it just started ripping from the leach, which was really bad as it meant we had to take it down.

“Then our headboard car failed again, our new one! We lost about 15 miles. All the boats got together and we were the last boat, after that it was always an advantage being ahead, so it was very hard for us always having to catch up. We almost caught them a few times but they escaped again. I guess all the boats had breakages though, so we did very well.”

“I think we are very competitive. We definitely have the speed, we can sail well and the crew is good, so I’m looking forward to the next leg.”

Volvo Ocean Race: Second Leg Finishers
Finish times (GMT)1. illbruck – 4 Dec 01 – 00222. SEB – 4 Dec 01 – 01353. News Corp – 4 Dec 01 – 02174. djuice – 4 Dec 01 – 06435. Amer Sports One – 4 Dec 01 – 0650Still Racing (ETAs)6. Assa Abloy – 4 Dec 01 – 09327. Amer Sports Too – 6 Dec 01 2008RetiredTyco (Rudder stock failure)