It’s almost time for another Volvo Ocean Race. With just 100 days to go until the start of the next edition, the teams still have a lot of preparation to do. And while many UK sailing fans will have to wait until July 2012, when the race finishes in Ireland to see the boats, a couple of the teams will compete in the Fastnet Race, giving UK fans a preview of some of the favourites including Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Groupama.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Skipper Ian Walker:
“We know some of the other Volvo Ocean Race teams will be there for the Fastnet and we’ll all be looking to flex our muscles without letting too much out of the bag. It will be great to test ourselves against other teams and benchmark how far we have come, and equally importantly, how far is still left to go. It is also a welcome break from training and to will help rekindle that competitive drive which will serve us well over the coming 100 days.
Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez:
“We are starting to feel confident. Little by little we are getting to know each other and the boat is starting to feel like one of us. It doesn’t feel so strange any more being in a boat so different from the last one we had, which will sail against us in the hands of Mike Sanderson (of Team Sanya). It’s odd that we’ll be competing against the old Telefónica Blue, even if she does have a new name.”
PUMA Ocean Racing skipper Ken Read:
“We have really tried to treat every day like its crucial, and these final 100 days are no more important than the beginning days were for this program. I believe this is a good thing. If we were behind in our planning or had a problem, the final days would surely carry quite a bit more significance. Final 100 days? Hopefully, they will just be treated like another day in the office… 100 times.”
Groupama skipper Franck Cammas:
“We were one month late when we launched the boat this spring but it’s all fine today. We managed to qualify and to improve the boat after sailing here. We didn’t break anything and the gauge controls went very well. Groupama 4 is not in race mode yet, but we are working on it. On August 14 we will take part in the Fastnet Race in Cowes before coming back to our base in Lorient. We will head to Alicante at the end of September.”
Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson (speaking late last month):
“This campaign is very late in getting going, and there is no doubt that we are handicapped by having to use an older generation boat. That said, we know we need to pitch the boat’s performance into a corner and Telefónica Blue last time was very quick in the light and moderate conditions and potent during inshore racing. Seeing the new boats launched so far, it appears she still might be okay in these conditions. Only time will tell of course, but we do feel that she will offer us a great opportunity to have our ‘day in the sun’.”
And here’s some Emirates Team New Zealand news that doesn’t make sense to publish on the America’s Cup website. The team’s Volvo 70 yacht has departed for Europe. Team NZ’s shipping partner Maersk will be used for the journey.
For a race that calls at nine ports around the world, logistics is a substantial part of the cost-base for a sailing team. For the Volvo Ocean Race, CAMPER in association with Emirates Team NZ will have two shore bases, each consisting of four 40ft shipping containers. In order to have the bases set up in time for the arrival of the team, the two bases will leap-frog each other around the world.
Grant Dalton, Managing Director of Emirates Team New Zealand comments on the partnership:
“Maersk Line have been part of our the team since 2005, and I cannot explain how crucial they are to ensuring the success of our offshore operations. We now have a fleet of yachts involved in regattas around the world, from the America’s Cup, to the Extreme 40’s and now the Volvo Ocean Race. Alongside the boats, we need to ship various support assets such as ribs, and workshops that will manage the boats during competition. Maersk is our lifeline in ensuring we can compete on a world stage.”
For the ‘trainspotter’ types amongst you, the Team NZ PR folks have handily supplied the exact ships that will be used to make the journey. The first part will be on the container ship Maersk Dabou, and then CAMPER will be “trans-shipped” at Petjung Peletas, Malaysia, to the Skagen Maersk at for the 8329 mile voyage to Felixstowe in the United Kingdom.