The 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race presents different challenges from the last race three years ago: new crew mixes and new strategies prompted by a different course. And then there is the science… Chris Bedford, Simon Fisher and Mark Towill
Seahorse: How did the welcome reintroduction of longer oceanic legs affect the different strategy roles in your team?
Pictured here, this year’s Volvo fleet were straight into it at the start of the first long leg of the new course – from Lisbon to Cape Town. As Vestas 11th Hour Racing power away from Lisbon their boat is fully stacked and most of the crew are wearing all the kit they have got onboard. Breeze is good… and a start in these conditions sends a much ‘stronger’ message to the wider public of what this race is still all about
Simon Fisher (SiFi): Even though there is more Southern Ocean in this edition I’m not sure we will see a fundamental change in how people approach the race overall. We try to approach each leg in the same way irrespective of length, building a strong strategy where we feel we have confidence in the forecast, and to consider all the potential options. If I feel we have had no surprises out on the water I know we have done a good job onshore!
However, the race is busier than ever in terms of schedule and there is not a lot of down time, so having good shore support is more important than ever. Here at Vestas 11th Hour Racing we are following a path similar to how we worked with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing last time. I am lucky to be surrounded by a strong team with Chris Bedford as our meteorologist once again who works remotely from the US. Anderson Reggio is supporting me on site as a shorebased navigator, involving everything from weather to performance analysis and generally taking stuff off my plate and staying on top of the evolving situation with the weather while we fulfil our obligations on the water.
Hopefully it also means I can stay rested and spend a bit of time with my family too! With Vestas as a partner we have access to some additional meteorological resources which makes for an exciting collaboration. Read on.