speech and debate

Sitting on the rail – and turning a lot of winches – during the 2017 Fastnet with the rest of his VO65 crew was Blue Robinson. As is usual on offshore races this was indeed a subject of serious debate
Seahorse Magazine: Martine [Grael], when did you first consider the Volvo Ocean Race… and when were you asked?
Martine Grael: I was already interested in the last VOR and what the SCA team put together, but it was clear my goal was the 2016 Olympic Games so I stayed focused solely on that. But when the rule changed to promote mixed crew for the 2017 race I immediately tuned in and started looking out for a good opportunity.
Pictured: Already a Volvo winner (on Groupama) Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng took first blood in the 2017-18 edition by winning the Fastnet VO65 class by under a minute from Mapfre. But thereafter it was the Spanish entry all the way, wrapping up Leg Zero after the course was shortened in light winds off northern Spain. The final – drifting – leg was won by Vestas (below) with another Groupama alumnae, Damian Foxall a watch leader in US skipper Charlie Enright’s crew. This is Enright’s second Volvo having skippered Alvimedica to 5th place three years ago
SH: Hesitation?
MG: None! I had no idea if I would like it or not so, as early as I could, I went offshore with one of the teams to check that it would actually work for me!
SH: Conversations with your family, brother Marco, uncle Lars, father Torben and coach Javier [Torres]…
MG: Since the announcement of the rule change for mixed teams and then my initial contact with a VOR team, I pretty much asked everyone I knew who sailed for their opinion on the rules, women onboard, ocean sailing, everything really, so I did as much research as I could including watching all the videos. I talked to Javier after the Olympics last year about the possibility of competing in the VOR, in particular if there was a chance to do it with my own team. But that didn’t quite happen.
Read on.