Look back and smile

Text by Jonno Turner
Knut on the spot
Perfect partners
Look back and smile Text by Jonno Turner
One year. 365 days. 8760 hours.

That's how long it is since the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 edition truly kicked off, in the shadow of Alicante's imposing Santa Barbara castle.

The date? Saturday 4 October 2014. The event? The Alicante In-Port Race.

The sailors had trained hard, they'd practiced manoeuvres, they'd checked the weather.

But, in truth, as the teams made their way to the dock, no-one really knew what to expect.

“It gets the adrenaline going, and you realise what an amazing adventure you’re part of,” said Team SCA skipper Sam Davies, as she prepared to jump onboard.

“Sometimes it’s quite stressful when you see how big it is, but you’ve got to make sure you enjoy it as well as getting nervous!”

And enjoy it they did. As the boats battled it out in the Spanish bay, the action was tight, tense and thrilling.

Just five seconds separated winners Team Alvimedica from second placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

It was a sign of things to come - boats bow to bow, match-racing for the next 40,000 miles around the world.

“We weren’t really looking to win it – there were no expectations at all,” admitted Alvimedica navigator Will Oxley in an interview on the dock.

“It was about a process, and executing that process. What will be will be. It really is that simple.”

Their young American skipper, Charlie Enright, smiled as his team arrived back into port.

“Today was a good day and we enjoyed it. We'll wake up tomorrow and pick up where we started."

Little did we know that it would be the start of something quite so memorable.