Mike Sanderson, a.k.a Moose, gave his views today on the state of the Volvo Ocean Race on Team Sanya’s race blog. Below is an excerpt, specifically talking about the rules, boats and rigs. Read the full post here.
‘RACE THOUGHTS AND GETTING BACK INTO IT’
….So while we are on damage subject, I think its a good time to give you my perspective on why the fleet had so many issues on this last leg. Firstly as everyone is saying you have to divide the two problems up. For sure there have been structural problems and there have been rig problems. For me the rule makers with regards to the structures thought they had done the right thing with the rule to make the boats have “spare weight” in the assumption that the teams would put this into the strength of the boats. At the same time they upped the structural requirement of the rule with regards to meeting a different set of International standards. This, at first glance, all seems to be a positive – there was however one little loophole though which all the teams have jumped through and that is what state you could weigh your boat in. Telefonica Blue last time was one of the two lightest boats in the fleet, now “sailing weight” wise so if you just picked the boat up when we are at the dock (without sails on it…) the new boats probably sail 250 kgs lighter then we can on what was Tele Blue. SO the bottom line is that the additional weight didn’t end up being spare after all, the teams have used it instead of strengthening the boats to add all the bits into the weight equation that they can get away with, a particularly large bonus if that weight happens to be stackable!! For sure this is something that needs to get sorted out for the next race if the rule stays around.
Then the second issue with regards to rigs – for me this is due to the fact that the teams simply were not able to spend enough time on the water with their equipment leading up to the start. With ABN AMRO, we spent six months pretty much sailing with the same rigging set up that we were going to use in the race, with Team Sanya we were not able to do even six weeks!! We just didn’t have the time. For the next race IF everyone feels that the teams just won’t be doing the time on the water, then we will probably have to take a more conservative approach with things like rigging, but they will have to make it a rule, as when the time comes of course everyone realises that you need reliability and you need to finish to win, but also there aren’t that many areas that there are any gains left on the table and rigging is one of them…