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VOLVO OCEAN RACE

Kevin Shoebridge on the dockside in Miami

vendredi 12 avril 2002Information Volvo Ocean Race


Q : Leg six, more match racing, you must be getting sick of it !

A : It is a very short leg and people consider it a sprint, but not a lot changes between a three day leg and a 20 day leg, like the one we’ve just had. We match raced the whole way for 20 days. So it doesn’t really mean we will be changing the boat a whole lot, we have to change our watch system slightly so that we can get more manpower on deck for longer periods, but we‚ll only do that weather-dependent. If it’s light we will probably want the weight downstairs, so we‚re not making any crew changes, we’re really just reorganising ourselves about how we make tactical decisions, but staying with the same guys.

Q : Is this a leg you like ?

A : I like it because it is short ! And its going be intense, but the bad side to this leg is that if you do make one little mistake and get five miles behind, you never get it back. You can defend a five mile lead on this leg where you can’t on any other leg. On any other leg the options are so wide to get out the side of someone, you can get round them ; we’ve seen boats come back from 100 miles behind no problem. You can’t do that here, it’s a direct route and it’s very difficult to get out of sight of someone. It’s like doing the Hobart race if you can see them on the horizon, you’re hardly even thinking about them on this leg.

Q : Everyone’s talking about weather, how much homework do you have to do ?

A : We’ve done a lot of homework, we’re doing the scientific side, which everyone does, gathering data and all the rest of it, but what we’re also trying to do is get a little bit more practical information. We’re trying to get some local guys who have done the sail a lot and just sit down at a table with them and just talk it through ; especially Cape Hatteras and the approach into the Chesapeake. Also we have got three of our team up in Baltimore, our navigator, our tactician and our weather expert. They’re just trying to familiarise themselves with the area, like we anticipate that it will be a very close race and there’s the possibility we’ll be going up there in the middle of the night, and we don’t want any surprises.

Q : Not making any changes, are you happy with the way things are ?

A : Yeah, we made one change in Rio, and that was a change within our team anyway, we got Fuzz, our sail designer onboard, which went really well, so we‚re using him again ; he’s also a local in Annapolis so that’s quite handy. We’ll probably make another change from that point on for the next leg. But we’re pretty happy with how the boat is running.

Q : You have three successive thirds, but with the points situation you need a better podium place ?

A : We do really, if there is any hope of any of us getting close to illbruck, they have to stop getting in the top three, they need to fall back a bit or do some damage or something. For us, we’re in a tight spot, we’re only one point behind third and one point ahead of the boat behind us. We’ve really got to make or break, this leg will see some overall changes I would imagine, on the overall positions. Grant’s got to defend his placing, we‚ve got to try and get up and keep News Corp back, but we’re not going to go out and try to defend against one boat, we’re not going to match race any boat or pick on one boat in particular, because I can see us working our way to the back of the fleet. We are just going to get to Baltimore as fast as we can

Q : I was going to ask you whether you would be covering illbruck !

A : No, I’ve done this before and you can get yourselves seriously messed up by doing it, that guy could be going the wrong way so he’s just dragging you with him ! I think it is a bad focus to have, it might work on the last leg, but on a leg like this when you are still trying to break away from the pack we need to come first, we don’t want to come fourth.

Q : Have you enjoyed Miami ?

A : Miami has been a good stopover for us, it’s given the team a good break, but the problem with good breaks is that you’ve got to get everyone back here and get the mind back on the job. The guys don’t get enough rest and it’s a hard, hard nine months, its very hard to flick moods, I was just starting to enjoy my time off on the last day and on the last night all I could think about was what we hadn’t done over the last five days, I don’t know if you ever relax, which is probably a bad thing.

Q : Do you have to crack the whip as skipper ?

A : Not really, they’re all self-motivated people and they all know what they’re here for, they’re professional, they get paid to be professional so they have to act like it. I think everyone knew that before the start, occasionally when we have a few things, it’s never a bad thing it’s just a reminder.



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