VOR DOCK TALK – “Sailing skill is the main requirement – but equally, the team chemistry and ability to work together for 38,000 miles around the world” – Charlie Enright, Team Alvimedica
Well, Charlie’s right. Sailing skill is kind of important. After all, faced with whistling winds, crashing waves, four oceans and five continents, those high school 100% attendance certificates won’t be much use. Unless you use them to create an extra sail, or something.
Anyway, what we’re saying is that for this race, a blend of sailing experience is key. Luckily for Alvimedica, their new guys – all five of them – have plenty of that in their lockers.
Americans Nick Dana (and Onboard Reporter, Amory Ross), New Zealanders Ryan Houston and Dave Swete, Australian Will Oxley, and Italian Alberto Bolzan have all joined, and only the latter is a Volvo Ocean Race rookie.
And it’s a good job too, because the team set off on a, erm, ‘gentle’ team-building exercise yesterday – a transatlantic training run from Newport to the UK. The next time they will see the Rhode Island shores is in May 2015. “It’s not easy to leave friends and family behind but it is time to get out and go sailing”, Charlie said.
“His technical skills and eye for detail are a couple of ingredients that, as a skipper, you can only dream of” – Bouwe Bekking, Team Brunel
Oh, Bouwe. I’m blushing. You are far too nice and complimenta…oh.
Of course. He’s not talking about me. I knew that. He’s talking about Laurent Pagès, the latest addition to his team – and the crew member to finally complete the Team Brunel jigsaw.
Having led Groupama to victory in the last race, the sailor from southwest France, already has tons of experience. He also knows his new skipper well, as they sailed together on third-placed Telefónica Blue back in 2008-09.
They now head across the Atlantic, to Lanzarote. And Pagès is not the only Frenchman to join the race this week…
“I have to be focused on our team and not waste time thinking about other things” – Nico Lunven, Spanish team
OK, so they don’t even have a name yet… but that hasn’t stopped the Spanish team saying ‘bienvenue’ and ‘bienvenido’ to three new crew members – France’s Nico Lunven, and Spaniards Rafa Trujillo and Neti Cuervas-Mons.
The trio will join Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández aboard the boat, in what will be the third race for the experienced Cuervas-Mons (2008-09 and 2011-12), and a debut outing for both Lunven and Trujillo.
And Xabi expects the rookies to be just fine. “Nico is a very young sailor, a very talented navigator and in critical moments he can give a hand on deck.”
He added: “We’ve known Rafa for 20 years. He is hard working, very strong and talented – he will contribute a lot to this boat.”
“Reckon the guys are ready for some nice food and a warm shower!” – @DongfengRacing Twitter
What better way to relax before the biggest race of your life than with a weekend away in the sun?
That’s how Dongfeng Race Team continued their preparations this week, but their short and sweet training trip to Spain was not all sangria, sunbathing and sandy beaches.
And as they returned to a wet and windy Lorient 48 hours later with a smile on their faces, one thing was certain: extreme conditions might dampen their underpants, but they will not dampen their team spirit.
“I’m looking forward to taking the boat home to the UK” – Annie Lush, Team SCA
Stateside, the Fourth of July is all about family, food and fireworks. The American girls of SCA held their celebrations last week – and now it’s the turn of the team’s Brits to make some fireworks of their own.
As the last competitive test before October, the Round Britain & Ireland race is a key progress marker, and Annie Lush, Dee Caffari and co will be hoping to return to the British Isles in style.
But they will face some stiff competition…
“We’re not going to leave anything on the table” – Ian Walker, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Well, it sounds like the Emiratis are making the most of real food, before the nine months of freeze-dried which lie ahead.
Following a 10-day Atlantic crossing last week, the crew kicked back in Newport for a few days – and are now in tip-top shape, and ready to go.
But first, a trip back east, alongside the Alvimedica boys – and they will also be present at the Cowes starting line. “I can’t wait”, said Ian. “It will be an excellent training run just before the start, and a tough test for us at just the right time.”
“The last edition included more than 8,969 broadcasts and was followed by more than 1.5 billion viewers” – Knut Frostad, Volvo Ocean Race
Does this all sound a little strenuous? Don’t worry, because once again we’ve teamed up with Octoshape, who will be providing live video streams of all of the race action.
For the first time in the event’s history, you’ll also be able to watch the boats arrive in port live on mobiles, and race village screens after each leg – all without even getting your feet wet.
The world’s longest event, over nine months and in excess of 38,000 nautical miles, in your pocket. Technology, eh?