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run the route

Blue Robinson talks immovable objects, round-the-world navigation and Southern Ocean weather with routeur du jour Marcel van Triest
distllerySeahorse Magazine: Before the last Volvo Ocean Race when Ian Walker on Abu Dhabi came to you, what was your brief?
Marcel van Triest: I discussed this with Ian not so long ago, asking what his philo – sophy was in getting me and Chris Bedford involved. Ian’s take on it was that if he took a blank sheet of paper and asked where he could become better with the resources that were available to him – as the VOR is now one-design, which doesn’t allow two-boat testing or new areas in sails to explore – one of the areas he identified where money and people could improve his campaign was navigation.
He then made a clear goal of trying to get the best he could, and the brief to Chris and me was not to focus on a certain area but to assist them by leaving no stone unturned. And that is really how I approached it, preparing the legs as if I was going myself, but with the benefit that I wasn’t and so I could really drain myself and be worn out by the leg start.
With navigator Simon Fisher some of the tasks we doubled up on, as simple as the two of us checking waypoints in traffic separation zones. I recall when the fleet were leaving Holland these got amended at least 11 times, meaning it is very easy to make an error. If you have somebody in the team administration checking this it just isn’t the same as another navigator. Plus you have all the Notices to Mariners, which is a big read if you are racing through different nav areas; all this can get away from you if you are on your own.
Me doing it all allowed SiFi to rest, take part in sponsor commitments and spend time with his family, knowing that everything was in hand. Read on.