Volvo day out

With boat jobs and measurement mostly under control (or left with preparateurs Pierre and Simon) Sam, Henry and I went for a day trip to Lorient with our handy Tour guide and coach  Marcus today. Marcus has previously worked for the race organisation and we thought we knew enough shore crew types to be able to hopefully get a sniff inside a boat if things went well. We weren’t quite prepared to wander up to the Sanya base and get a full guided tour from skipper Mike Sanderson. It didn’t feel like he was just going through the motions and we got a full run down on all geeky technical aspects of the boat and the clever stuff that goes on bellow decks. He even expressed an interest in the Figaro and with his British passport and him taking my vote for the nicest man in sailing we’d be pretty keen to welcome him into the Artemis academy next year!

The minute we finished looking round Sanya we met Amory Ross, media crew member on Puma and second nicest man in the world who was keen to show us round a newer generation Volvo 70. This black beast was a thing of beauty, from the hand sprayed sea monster graphics all over the outside of the boat to the downstairs which still looked as good as new after 35,000 miles there was a vibe of perfection all round. It was also pretty illuminating to hear about the duties of the MCM onboard these boats, bailing, cooking and producing media content on a laptop crammed into a temporary bunk. Although they don’t have to move sails or grind winches guys don’t get it easy and my respect for the job has gone up a lot thanks to Amory.

After this we got a little peak inside Abu Dabi, kindly shown around by a wetsuit clad  Ben Clifford and Tanuy De Lamot’s new (old) open 60 for a full comparison. The challenge now is to forget about trying to put on 20kgs for the Volvo Ocean Race for at least a month while we carry on with this little solo race that’s about to start…

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