Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Volvo Ocean Race Team Vestas Wind skipper - One Design is key

by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team on 13 Aug 2014
Chris Nicholson with the two Danish crew members and Morten Kamp Jorgensen of Vestas - Team Vestas Wind - Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 Pre-launch Team Vestas Wind http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/teams/49_Team-Vestas-Wind.html
Denmark's Vestas, has confirmed they are sponsoring the seventh entry in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015

Chris Nicholson, (Nico) the Skipper of Team Vestas Wind is a four Volvo Ocean Race veteran, a two-time Australian Olympian with three 49er and three 505 sailing World Championships to his name.

Nicholson was the skipper of the CAMPER TEAM, run by Emirates Team New Zealand (ENTZ) which came second in the 2011-12 race. He was expected to be once more the skipper of the ETNZ team had they entered in 2014-15 race.

However ENTZ decided they needed to focus on the America’s Cup and so the hunt for a sponsor for boat seven went into overdrive, with Danish company, Vestas Systems, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, taking on the challenge, as has been announced today.

The only reason that a very late entry was possible was because of the One Design elements of this race of which Chris Nicholson forecast back in 2012 would be critical.

Immediately after the last race Nicholson said ‘with the race up to now being a design battle the changes to a largely one design race increases the attractiveness of the event.

Before that you could not guarantee to a sponsor that you will be competitive when the start gun went. With a one-design that can be guaranteed to the sponsor.’

Today Nicholson told Sail-World:

‘Finding the sponsor has been paramount. There was a rumour out there that there is a Russian entry, a Dutch entry. There was some truth in it. You try and pursue every lead as far as you can because to even get a role in a Volvo program is extremely difficult at the best of times. I was almost resigned to the fact that I would fill in on legs. I figured I would have opportunity to skipper during the race once all the pressure comes on really hard onto the current skippers. I thought that may have been what I was destined to do this race.

‘Then that turned around as discussions with Vestas became very serious.

‘Within the last five weeks literally from start to finish it has been pulled and pushed together and here we are to date in a controlled scramble.

‘The only reason we have been able to join in so late is because it’s a one design boat. I was pleased that two and a half years ago when I first heard the concept. Not many people were and I fully understood, of anyone, how difficult it was raising the funding in previous programmes and also justifying the risk to sponsors.

‘The risk in the past has been just incredible in terms of trying to deliver a fast boat and a reliable boat with multiple designers out there. The risk to a sponsor was immense back that.

‘Now for all the current sponsors, they are very fortunate to have a level playing field with the one design structure.

‘Of course the sailors who have grown up through the Volvo 70s would probably prefer that boat, which is just an awesome machine. Forget about that. The longevity of the race, the benefit of the sponsors and the closeness of the racing far outweighs anything we have seen in the past.

‘It’s a great concept, from what I can tell the boats have come out very even and it’s just all set up for super tight racing.

‘This program has come together quickly, I read some rumours the other day that this has been in the pipe for a long time. It certainly hadn’t. I ordered an A Cat six weeks ago, I was planning on having some serious A Cat racing this year. And then I had to cancel that order four weeks ago once this came up.

‘Our Shore Manager Neil Cox, (Coxy) and I have worked together a long time now, this will be our third program together now and him and the team that he has had over the years have been legendary in the race.

‘Neil and I had some pretty serious discussions if we could even do it. We had some clear standards. We didn’t want to do it if we didn’t think we could be competitive. We had some real tough discussions if we could do it and without a doubt if it wasn’t him there in that position I wouldn’t have done it.

‘The only reason we could put this program together was the whole range of one design elements.

‘The sails for instance. They are supplied all identical. When I did have a little involvement in the early days, setting the rules for this race, I was quite adamant that we shouldn’t recut them.

‘If you allow latitude in areas like that it’s tempting for teams to run like a mini arms race. The more you spend the more you get to break the competitors who don’t have the money and time.

‘To be honest if they had allowed sail recuts, I would have said we can’t actually be competitive given our short time frame.

‘Anyway we hit the go button and right now Coxy and his team are up in the UK now finishing the signage on Team Vestas Wind. We will be rolling it out the shed in about five days.

‘We will probably splash it around the 18th at the moment and then we have all the systems worked up and sea trials. Then we have a safety course on 25 and 26 August.

‘We will finish our sea trials and sail off to Alicante to see if it possible to make it down there on the assembly date. I think we can make it, if all the stars align and everything happens perfectly but as you know putting a new boat on the water normally tends to bring up the odd problem but we will overcome them.’

In Part II, Nico talks about his crew, the competition and more.

InSunSport - NZT Clewring - GenericBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Volvo Ocean Race - In case you missed it - Kiteboarder jumps off Azzam
Video - Danish kitesurfing sensation Nick Jacobsen teamed up with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to perform a world first Video - Danish kitesurfing sensation Nick Jacobsen teamed up with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to perform a world first - an incredible leap from Azzam's 30 metre mast, in June 2015. The stunt took place in Gothenburg, Sweden, after Abu Dhabi Ocean racing had won the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.
Posted on 15 Mar
Volvo Ocean Race museum proves big hit with foreign tourists
The Volvo Ocean Race’s museum has established itself as one of the most popular attractions in Alicante, southern Spain. The Volvo Ocean Race’s museum has established itself as one of the most popular attractions in the busy tourist city of Alicante, southern Spain, with 50,488 visitors during 2015.
Posted on 13 Jan
Volvo Ocean Race – New head of port operations appointed
Volvo Ocean Race – Richard Mason has been appointed the event's head of port operations. Volvo Ocean Race – Richard Mason, four-time Volvo Ocean Race sailor and the man who led the shore crew for Team SCA women’s team in the last edition, has been appointed the event's head of port operations.
Posted on 25 Nov 2015
Volvo Ocean Race - Jonah Lomu on board Abu Dhabi OR + RWC tries Video
New Zealand is celebrating the life of All Black great Jonah Lomu - a man who gave so much and expected so little New Zealand is celebrating the life of All Black great Jonah Lomu - a man who gave so much and expected so little. He was an onboard guest on Abu Dhabi during the Auckland Stopover of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race Here's the video of that day on March 14, 2015 and the Rugby World Cup video compilation of all his RWC tries
Posted on 19 Nov 2015
Volvo Ocean Race - Two greats inducted into World Sailing Hall of Fame
The ISAF has announced Sir Peter Blake (NZL) and Torben Grael (BRA) will join the World Sailing Hall of Fame The careers and contributions of two Volvo Ocean Race legends have been celebrated at the ISAF Annual Conference in Sanya, China. Sailing’s governing body has announced that it is inducting the late Sir Peter Blake (NZL) and Torben Grael (BRA) into the World Sailing Hall of Fame – the highest honour in the sport.
Posted on 14 Nov 2015
Volvo Ocean Race - Report confirms 2014-15 edition as best yet
The end of Race Report, released today, confirms that the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race was the most successful ever The 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race was the most successful ever, figures show in the official Race Report released on Monday. The curtain fell on the 12th edition of the 42-year-old event in Gothenburg on June 27, and today’s report confirms it was the best yet.
Posted on 3 Nov 2015
Volvo Ocean Race - History delivers a wild ride
It was two years ago this month that Bernardo Arsuaga walked into the Volvo Ocean Race museum. It was two years ago this month that Bernardo Arsuaga walked into the Volvo Ocean Race museum. The 38-year-old lawyer was walking around the '40 days, 40 faces' photography exhibition, when he noticed a picture of a middle-aged, bespectacled Mexican in a big sombrero celebrating with some obviously close buddies.
Posted on 18 Oct 2015
Volvo Ocean Race – Should Lawyers be banned and Multihulls
Knut Frostad, the outgoing CEO of VOR was a dual Olympian who then sailed in four VORs. Part IV of interview series. Knut Frostad, the outgoing CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), was a dual Olympian who then sailed in four VORs. He has some strong views on sailing, lawyers and sportsmanship.Part IV of the Sail-World interview series continues.
Posted on 4 Oct 2015
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA axed + Videos
Sadly the recent rumours that sponsor of all women's Volvo Ocean Racer Team SCA are continuing have been confirmed. Sadly the recent rumours that the Swedish sponsor of the all women's Volvo Ocean Race Team SCA have decided not to continue their race involvement have been confirmed. Here is how SCA made the announcement today.
Posted on 3 Oct 2015
Not the Official Release from the VOR Press Conference.
It’s very interesting to go to press conferences and then read about them afterwards The latest edition of the Volvo Ocean Race finished in Gothenburg in the last week of June this year, and the Italian press (described as “knowledgeable” in a VOR press release) are asking Knut Frostad whether there will be an Italian entry on the next race? C’mon, guys, do you really think he has a yes/no answer to that? And there was someone asking about the possibility of a German entry...
Posted on 3 Oct 2015