The Volvo Ocean Race in Chris Nicholson words
By Chris Nicholson, Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand Skipper
In the end, coming in second position was very good. In the start of the race, the aim was to win it. We had some troubles in the middle of the race, so to finish second was a great achievement. We felt like we always had the potential for a good race, we were always in the podium and doing really well. We got to a very good position.
If I could change anything about the race it would be to not have the boat break in the middle of the Southern ocean, but not much else, there is always things you could change but to me it`s more about the people that you have with you, and as far as that’s concerned I’d be happy to go with the same team again.
The worst part of the boat breaking was the place where we were at the moment, (in the middle of the Southern Ocean), far from everyone. If you look at other boats during the race they had breakages in some fortunate positions, 10 hours from shore or 6 hours from help. We broke where we could not get help. I don´t know how to describe that, that was just unfortunate. Anywhere else we could’ve got help. The most difficult decision during the race was deciding if we would continue from this point or go back to New Zealand. We chose to continue, but needed to make some changes in the route and stop in Chile instead of Brazil. We felt that we didn’t have too many choices other than to do that. That was more of a disappointment than perhaps seeing the race slip away from us, that was the hard bit.
When it comes to expectations, the race was a bit more difficult than expected, we had added things in. When we were in Abu Dhabi we had to put the boats on and off ships, so there were a few disruptions to the flow of the race, and the stop- over times where you normally stop to recover were much shorter. It was tougher than expected, it was a very hard race which I think in the end played to our strength. During the difficult times you certainly have some concerns about safety, for sure, but scared… I always think scared implies you can’t think straight.
Now that we are back it will take some time to get back to normal, number one- we have to stop swearing! We need to start getting healthier and stronger. Most of the guys were talking about getting back to the gym. People haven’t been able to do much exercise other than sailing for the past 9 months, there just hasn’t been time. I am having some holidays in the next few weeks so there will be time for some other hobbies of mine, like mountain biking and horse riding.
I like the new strategy for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Races where all the boats will be in the same design, I really enjoy that concept. It’s good just to aim it more towards the sailing, it will be easier for the sponsors and the public to understand what’s going on when boats are equal. For instance for us it was difficult, we had some strong areas with our boat and a couple of weak areas. But for that information to be shared with the public, it’s very difficult, it’s not easy for everyone to understand speed differences. One design is perfect. When it comes to the future, I will definitely join another Volvo Ocean Race, just not right now, I need to rebuild first