I’m writing this from the CAMPER shore base in Cape Town as preparations ramp up for the beginning of leg two. I’ve been here for about three days now and flying into the thick of Volvo activity from the thick of America’s Cup activity back home is real reminder of what a neat environment we get to work in.
There are not many sailing teams in the world where you can jump between two huge campaigns that are respectively at the top of their games. It doesn’t get much more different in sailing than the Volvo and the America’s Cup but as I go back and forth between the two it always strikes me that the approach, attitude and sense of humour of our guys is exactly the same across the two campaigns. It’s pretty exciting to see Emirates Team New Zealand being represented so well in both events.
The CAMPER guys largely operate as a self-contained unit but it’s nice to come in at stop-overs and give them a link back to home base. They are a slick operation and it has really impressed me what a well-oiled machine Nico and Coxy have pulled together. As we go into the last week of the stopover there is a very firm plan in place to ensure that the sailors focus remains on the right things and that they hit the start line in the very best shape possible. Obviously, everyone was disappointed not to have done better in leg one but the lessons have been learnt and now it’s important to move on and look at the next leg. It’s a big mistake to get stuck in the past.
There’s been a fair bit of dockside discussion here about the piracy issue in leg two and the fact that for a fair chunk of the leg the boats will be on a ship. For the teams it is a logistical nightmare but I don’t think you can get too bunched up about it. In the end it’s the right thing to do and it’s just not a viable option to send the yachts into an area where pirates are known to be operating. You’ve just got to acknowledge that it’s the environment we have to deal with and get on with it. It’s a bit of a hassle but the alternative could be much worse.
For me it’s a strange feeling to have flown into a Volvo stopover in Cape Town. I first sailed in here some 25 years ago and back then stopovers were about five weeks long and after four days of work on the boat we could disappear. It was a real amateur adventure in those days compared to the slick, professional outfit of today. What hasn’t changed though over the decades is the sense of fun and it’s great to see the guys enjoying Cape Town.