Just minutes after arriving at Sanya, China, the Volvo Ocean Race sailors talk to volvooceanrace.com about the 3,000 nautical mile Leg 3 Stage 2 race from the Maldives.
Iker Martinez, skipper, Team Telefónica:
"I think it was by far the most dangerous leg I’ve ever done in a boat. Malacca Strait in a sailing boat and racing is not the right way to do it, that was putting ourselves in a lot of difficult situations that’s why we are so happy. And now we start feeling more relaxed.
[On being the first boat since 89-90 to win first three legs] "I didn’t know that, but for sure we’re feeling great. We’re very happy, it’s a dream, you always dream to start a a race like this I just hope everything is going to keep going smooth.
"The boat is always good, it’s a good one, we have a very nice boat in very good shape with only little jobs. Normally things break because we’re not doing things as well as we should."
Andrew Cape, navigator, Team Telefónica:
"That was a toughie! I certainly won’t get used to it to winning, it won’t last forever. We’re taking it one leg at a time. It’s a good win, we’re very happy. Right from the top of Sumatra it’s been really difficult. There were so many hazards and you can’t take your eye off the ball for one second because that’s when bad things happen. It was a very taxing leg, a lot harder than I expected. Everyone is ecstatic – we’re all happy to be here and very relieved."
Zane Gills, bowman, Team Telefónica:
"I couldn't believe how heavy the traffic was in the Malaca Strait and the heat was very taxing. Then coming up the coast of Vietnam was extremely exhausting on the bow and for everyone on the boat. I was only just saying to the guys how sore my arms are this morning. I've lost a lot of weight and have really felt it this leg."
Stewart Gray, shore loft manager, Team Telefónica:
"For us the hard work starts now. We've got a job list waiting and it's going to be a race against time to be ready for the in-port race."
Franck Cammas, skipper, Groupama sailing team:
“We’re very happy to have finished this leg. We’re also very happy to be in China – it’s the first time for me and for Groupama. The last few days were very hard for the crew. There were lots of manoeuvres, we tacked about 25 times in the last 24 hours in rough seas which was very tough on the crew. It wasn’t easy but the result was we got second place. I think we did good work on the first two legs without seeing a result but now we’re seeing results. For sure the confidence is high on Groupama 4 now. I don’t know what we have to do to beat Telefónica – maybe cut their sails?”
Chris Nicholson, skipper, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand:
“We thought and expected to do better than third to be honest but it’s a difficult race we’re entered into with the best professional teams in the world. We got on the wrong side of a thunderstorm in the Malacca Strait. The other guys went to the Indonesian shore line and we couldn’t get there. That was pretty much the ball game there and then.
“We left the Singapore Strait in fifth so we’re happy to have got back to third. We thought we were a lot better than fifth. To finish third is good, it’s a good positive for us to finish on.
“There’s still a lot of thought required about how we can start winning legs. We’re able to match the leaders at certain periods of the race and then we kind of let ourselves down occasionally. Everyone does it – all the teams do it. I guess I’m a little more conscious of it than most. We just have to keep working on that, go back to the designer, see if there’s anything more in regards to how we’re sailing the boat. We hope to rest up a bit now. Even though we haven’t done a lot of miles in the last month it’s been a long month what with the Abu Dhabi stopover, the sprint legs and the shipping to the Maldives. It’s been a big exercise in sailing and logistics so a big rest up here is in order so we can come out with good training and attitude for the in-port race.”
Will Oxley, navigator, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand:
"It was a solid performance. We’ll always be disappointed unless we’re first. But it was a solid result given the circumstances. We could easily have been fifth.
(On Malacca Strait loss) "You have a plan on how you’re going to approach something, and we executed that plan. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s just normal. It’s far more stressful trying not to run into things in the places we’ve been.
"Navigationally it’s probably the hardest navigational race I’ve done in terms of trying to dodge things with poor quality charts. The line between legend and lemon is very fine, so you have to always allow a bit cos you never know whether someone’s dropped a shopping trolley there.
You’re literally sailing along and 20 metres from us a light will come on and a little fishing boat and a little guy in a six foot boat will turn his torch on because we’re about to run him over, so its pretty hair raising. It’s madness.
"I’m going home, which is the only time in the whole race I’m going home. I only have a couple of days so I’ll see the dog, and I have some family there too so I’ll catch up with them. (The dog’s name is Rory; he’s a Hungarian Vizsla).
"I’ve seen the family, regularly, but I’ve not seen the dog so I’m afraid he might bite me. Then I’ll just chill out for about four days.
Ken Read, skipper, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG
"Reading the travel brochure for a leg like this and you know it’s going to be hot and it’s going to be upwind, but you make the best of it and I think for the most part we did that.
I think, as the whole world knows our most defining moment was choosing an easterly course on the last bit from the Malacca Strait to Sanya, and it didn’t work. I put my hand up for that, at the end of the day that’s my call. I have to look at myself in the mirror over these decisions. We have to sit down and figure out better ways to handle these situations. I’m not in anyway going to turn my back on these decisions, but at the same time we take calculated risks.
"I believe Franck Cammas during leg 1 when they went hard down the African shore away from the rest of the fleet he said they went that way and were really surprised no one else went with them, well this is exactly the same case. We always liked the east; we were just really surprised no one came with us.
"Once you commit like that you can’t go back. If you are indecisive in the middle you will get killed in this fleet. So, we committed, no one else happened to commit, so we were out there, believe me there were a few times when there were smiles on everyone’s faces here thinking we had jagged one, but hey it didn’t work.
"But instead of just saying screw it and quitting we bowed back into it got back in ahead of Abu Dhabi, shouting distance here of CAMPER, net loss one boat in that whole debacle so we have to take that for what it is and live to fight another day."
Ian Walker, skipper, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
"There were really not a lot of tactical options, a few little differences in the strait but pretty much straight line, a lot of boat speed particularly in the last week. You know, just cross the miles off and we’re pleased to be here.
"I think we’re a lot closer to the front of the fleet than the back of the fleet in terms of time, the margins are small. If you look at the difference between Telefónica and us it’s one or two per cent, small margins. I don’t think whether you do well in one leg affects your emotions on the next leg, we just try to do the best we can in every leg and we chip away. If we sail badly and mess it up then we’re upset. But we didn’t sail badly we just didn’t have the legs to stay with the leaders there’s nothing really to be too upset about.
"I don’t think anyone ever really sail a boat to its full potential you can still get better but I’d say we sailed the boat pretty well."
Jules Salter, navigator, Abu Dhabi
"It was a pretty straight forward race really. We need to find a bit more performance out of the boat to make it a bit more competitive. Other than that it was a bit of a cruise.
"We need to find the potential to get the speed out of it, and that’s something we need to keep on working on, there’s nothing else we can do. You can always do everything better, we can do tactics better, crew work better and everything better because at the moment it’s just not good enough. It is how it is, there’s no point dressing it up with a lot of rubbish."
Craig Satterthwaite, helmsman, Abu Dhabi
"It didn’t quite go as we hoped. It got a bit close in Malacca strait and then we fell off the back.
"We had a reasonably good idea of our strategy when we came to the straight, good luck to them.
"To me it doesn’t matter whether you’re at the front or back you still sail the same and do the same manoeuvres and same jobs and keep the same intensity. Whether it’s the good times or bad times you have to keep going. This is not a one day race it takes a long time so you can’t give up, you have to keep going.
"The in shores only take 40 minutes, it’s not a true reflection of the boat’s performance you get a good start and a good shift and you’re half way to winning the race. We’re starting to get a good handle now on where our boat sits in relation to the others and where we think our strengths are and weaknesses are."
Rome Kirby, bowman, PUMA
"The first five days weren’t too bad, we were head to head with Telefónica, CAMPER and Groupama the whole way. Then the last two days we took our chances going one way, but unfortunately it didn’t pay off. At the time it didn’t seem a big gamble but unfortunately it didn’t pay off. This race hasn’t been the easiest race so far. You know, we’re always in it, we just seem to have some bad luck.
"On diving into the water in Malacca Strait That was pretty gross, the Malacca Strait is pretty nasty. I couldn’t even see my hand in front of me, so I was on the keel fin diving down with no visibility. I couldn’t even get to the bottom of the keel, but luckily we backed off and got off it. You know, we were side by side and we just had to watch them sail into the distance. Later that day we caught up and we were within three miles of them, and that remained until a few days ago.
"It’s a new experience in these waters that’s for sure. The Med was probably a bit nastier. The swell was a longer swell and I don’t’ thin we saw more than 27. It’s just I don’t’ think anyone has had much sleep in the last few days. I’ve maybe had three good hours of sleep in the past 48 hours. You just get used to it I guess, suck it up, and it just becomes normal."