Big Pimpin’
One of the biggest successes of the last Volvo Ocean Race was the boatyard, centralising much of the work – and costs – of keeping a fleet of much-abused grand prix race yachts at the top of their game. Blue Robinson looks ahead to 2017-18 with boatyard manager Nick Bice
futureSeahorse Magazine: How did the VOR boatyard evolve through the last race?
Nick Bice: For us the period of greatest evolution was before the event actually started. We spent a lot of time developing what we wanted to provide, yet not really knowing precisely how it was all going to work. A big part of that of course was how much the teams were going to trust us on what we said we were going to achieve.
Alicante before the start during the assembly period was probably the most difficult ‘stopover’. We had 50 people there, starting up the boatyard – but as the race went on the servicing obviously became steadily faster and more refined.
SH: What did the boatyard do well… and what not so well?
NB: The best thing we did was develop as a team, getting to the point where everyone respected each other, the project, the race, the teams in the race and all the other shore staff. What was the hardest thing was that it took a lot of our time to gain the full trust of the teams. It was such a huge shift from what the teams were used to, and what we learned was that we needed to educate the teams a lot more on what we were doing – not just one or two in each team, but the whole team.
SH: Throughout this one-design race were you still selling the concept of fairness?
Read on.