Few clues to be found at Alicante
Only a very brave man would take any sort of speed guide out of the Volvo Ocean Race in-port race yesterday so I will not attempt to get too clever here.
In conditions like we had yesterday the rich often get richer. Overall I thought our speed seemed OK. Out of the start we were to leeward of Abu Dhabi with about a 10 degree left shift coming in, yet we still nearly spat them off just before the top mark – long port and very short starboard lay line.
Downwind in those light conditions they seemed to have a click though. Was it breeze related, set up, sails? I have no idea, hard to tell from the deck of a super yacht at the bottom of the course.
On this leg we seemed to have a little bit on Puma which is consistent with what the guys have thought to date, downwind in the light.
I need to say again though that this is smooth water, very light wind and just looking at the Juan K boats, especially Groupama, they are hardly set up for it. They’re set up for the ocean.
So we were a solid second coming into mark two and then we muffed it, missed the sail change and got rolled by the chasing boats. From then it was follow the leader and just impossible to tell, but I thought our gybing was a lot slicker that the others (Abu Dhabi had checked out by now ) which helped get us back in to it.
On the course Abu Dhabi and Puma looked solid, the pick of the day, Sanya looked sticky; Telefomica, hard to tell and Groupama looked a bit sticky as well.
Groupama then bought a waste-of- time protest against us regarding our forestay which had already been passed by the measurers and ratified by the arbitration panel. You have to wonder if Groupama had really thought through the protest because the VOR is a long, long race. If the arbitration panel approves something you have close to no show at a race jury.
It is also simply bad form to sit (as they did) and video another boat all day to see if they can find something. Don’t get me wrong, fair game, but in this sport you need to pick your fights carefully, make enemies only if it is necessary.