I sat down with Chris Nicholson to pick his brain while he was at the nav station just before going on watch. As of the last sched we've dropped into 2nd place against Dongfeng. The fleet is split with us two leading the offshore charge while the rest of the leaders stay close into shore. The next sched report in one hour will provide a bit of resolution to the questions outlined below - especially the question of whether we gybe back inshore to check in with the fleet or maintain course offshore.
Chris, what's the game right now?
We're hoping & expecting the breeze to shift to the right another 5 to 10 degrees. The plan is then to potentially gybe over, although it is tempting to continue straight ahead. The fleet is split now, inshore and offshore. We're quietly confident offshore could go well for us and we're currently aiming to where we'll have favorable current in 100nm.
Why would we go inshore?
To reestablish ourselves with MAPFRE and Vestas 11th Hour. Since the last sched we're not 100% sure what they've done, and of course no one wants to go and meet up with the others unless they're on top and winning. So the name of the game is hold off until you can cross.
What would you like to do?
I'd continue on. If the shift is there then that's our game to step down, but as time has worn out the routing solution has become more favorable for us to stay our rather than go back in. There's a trend in what's happening. Perhaps because we're in more breeze than originally predicted, or we're keeping up with the front better? Plenty to play out and it's only day 3? What day is it?
I have no idea either. How are you feeling about the team's performance so far?
I feel really good that we're able to compete with the likes of Dongfeng and MAPFRE, and actually faster at times. The question now remains if we can maintain it over the distance. They've proved that they can consistently go at this level day in and day out. That's something that we've yet been able to maintain. That can be simple as a mechanical mistake during a maneuver or running out of energy to do more maneuvers. They've proven themselves to be a solid package all around. I think we can but we're yet to push ourselves that hard for that long.
Dongfeng went and did something like a gybe every half hour for an entire day while they were on the ice exclusion zone last leg. How would this team go under that kind of pressure?
We're mentally prepared to do it. We haven't had the opportunity to show that we can do it. But now I need to get dressed for watch.