Mike Sanderson talks to Matthew Sheahan about his recent appointment to Team Origin 30/3/07

 Following the announcement that Mike Sanderson is to be the Sailing Director of the new British America’s Cup team for the next event, the Volvo Ocean race winner talks about his appointment.

What does your position entail?

“I have taken a role under Keith Mills in which the legal and financial issues have been subtracted to leave the sailing, boat building, design, technical issues and crew selection. Really anything to do with the yachts and the sailing – all the fun stuff. My role will be to ensure that we’ve created a platform from which we can get the best out of everyone.

“I think the secret to making a role like mine a success is having the confidence to employ people who are significantly better than yourself at their various jobs. Getting the very best people is what counts and that’s what we’re determined to do. I’m there to have an overview of the whole situation.”

How much of your experience in the Volvo can be used in a Cup campaign?

“Having America’s Cup experience definitely helped me in the last Volvo and I’m adamant that the Volvo experience will hep me in the next Cup. Many of the top Cup sailors have done the Volvo and vice versa.”

What are your primary objectives?

“It’ll be important to bring some clear goals and get focussed on the fundamentals such as a fast boat and strong leadership. Before we get too carried away with reinventing the wheel we need to make sure that we get the basics sorted. That may sound like and over-simplification, but there is simply no point in going any further until this is sorted.”

Last time around GBR Challenge appeared to have some good sailors but were weaker when it came to the boats. How can you avoid being in a similar situation?

“From the outside it looked like they tackled a lot of problems that had already been solved by other people. In many ways we are luckier in that that for the first event we will be pushed for time and therefore we will have to pick up as much as we can from where everyone else has left off and see how quickly we can advance on that. There will not be time to reinvent the wheel, which appeals to me a lot.”

“The next cycle may well be a short one but who knows, we might be into a four year cycle and a new class of boat and then we’ve got to make sure that we have an equally, if not a more talented team of people to create the new boat. That’s what we were able to do with the Volvo race last time so I’d be pretty comfortable if that was the case.”