Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Volvo Ocean Race- Nicholson in race against time with latest entry

by Richard Gladwell Sail-World.com/nz on 12 Aug 2014
August 4, 2014. Team Vestas Wind being finished in Greenmarine © Green Marine http://www.greenmarine.co.uk/
'It doesn't take very long to explain the timeline we are on with this campaign,' says Chris Nicholson skipper of the seventh entry in the Volvo Ocean Race. 'That's because there's very little time between now and the race start!'

The late entry to the 40,000nm race around the globe will be sponsored by Vestas Wind Systems and will be a Danish flagged entry in the race.

Painting on the VO65, finished on Tuesday night, and she will be launched on August 21, and then undertaking some trial day sailing, followed by a two day Safety at Sea course in UK. Then the crew head off on their required 2,000nm qualifying sail out into the Atlantic Ocean, before arriving for the race start venue at Alicante, Spain.

'It’s a compressed time-frame, and we can’t afford any mistakes, if we are to meet our obligations to be in Alicante for the race start.'

'Our race has already well and truly started,' Nicholson adds.

Volvo Ocean race Director Knut Frostad chimes in, noting that no other crew in the history of the Round the World Races has left it this late to make an entry. ‘This is only possible with the changes we have made with the one design fleet, and it is going to be a fascinating story to follow. They are up against time. They are in the water much later than everyone else. They have the same equipment, and they have a good blend of experience and youth in their team. Vestas Wind Systems will be a team to watch. This is something that wasn’t possible in previous years – but now it is possible.'

Entering the race this late took some serious consideration from all concerned, says Nicholson. 'We needed to be certain that we had the time and ability to achieve the milestones that we all wanted to achieve.'

With the one-design concept of the Volvo Ocean 65, plus the shared shore services, there are some short-cuts that Vestas Wind can take to catch up. 'There is a very good question and answer system setup through Volvo. But to be honest the problems are extremely minor compared to when we had to commission the Volvo 70 – a custom made boat – and that is when you get a long job list after the boat goes on the water. The one design boats have had very few issues getting on the water.'

Nicholson says that while the other crews have had longer with their boats they have had more time to work on the minor changes. Sailing Vestas Wind virtually straight out of the box will mean her crew have to focus on the basics. ‘We are quite late in the piece and are more than happy to focus on how the boat should be set up, worrying about the more important things like going sailing, crew-work, our strategy, our performance and pulling the team together for the race.'

Part of the qualifying test will be to chase some big breezes in the Atlantic. 'Remember it is not only the heavier conditions we require to make sure we are safe and sound, but we also need to get lighter conditions to work out how to sail the boat and develop our crew maneuvers.'

'Primarily, the purpose of that sail is to ensure that we can sail the boat safely and confidently, but also to develop our maneuvers and speed. We want to arrive in Alicante as close on the heels of the other teams as we can.'


Their first race against the Volvo fleet will be an informal one ahead of the In Port race on October 4, followed by the start of Leg 1 on October 11 - in less than eight weeks time.

Nicholson had been set to lead an Emirates Team NZ crew in the current edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. But a boat came unexpectedly available when that deal fell over after uncertainty over indecision relating to the 2017 America's Cup.

Volvo Ocean Race stepped in and brokered a deal with Vestas Wind Systems to take on the sponsorship, with Nicholson accepting the role of the skipper just five weeks ago. 'So far there has been a tremendous amount of work done in a very short period of time,' Nicholson explains. 'If we can keep that momentum going we will find ourselves in good shape later on.'

The key person in the boat preparation is former Camper shore team manager, Neil Cox.

While he is coy about naming his full crew at this stage, Nicholson, a six time World Champion in the 505 and 49er classes, says that all but one of the eight man sailing crew have been identified.

'We have agreements with various people, and these are all key placements,' was Nicholsons response to a question as to whether he had secured a navigator for the race. 'We are working hard on it, and I am keen to soon announce the full crew.'

Sail-World understands that at least two of the Kiwi crew of Camper, second place getter in the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race will be aboard Vestas Wind. They will be joined by two top Danish sailors, Nicholai Sehested and Peter Wilbroe who cut their sailing teeth on the world match race circuits before moving onto Extreme 40's.

'It's time for them to try a different aspect of the sport of sailing,' says Nicholson, now on his fifth Volvo Ocean Race. 'I’ve told them that their performance is a key to how we go in this race,’ he adds. 'Not to put added pressure on them, but I know what I am going to get with the experienced guys. Now we have to get the best out of the young guys.'


The reality for Vestas Wind is that she will cross the start line in Alicante with just a couple of thousand sea miles on her log. 'The other teams will have sailed about six times the amount of miles that we will sail,’ he says.

That additional mileage includes a double Atlantic crossing for all of the fleet, plus competition in the 1800nm Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race, currently underway, and a number of shorter events.

Vestas Wind won’t have a low-mileage advantage in starting the race with newer sails. Nicholson explains that all the boats currently sailing are using their pre-race allocation of sails. All seven competitors will be on the Volvo start line with full new sail wardrobes.

'Every one will turn up fresh. Obviously I would have liked to have done more miles. But we have to get our heads around how to sail the boat and how to look after the boat. We need to look after the sails that we do have – so that when we get back to Europe we are in good shape.'

That last comment is a reference to Nicholson’s last race, where Camper was able to pull their race together in the last two legs scoring second and first placings to secure second overall in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.

In late August, Vestas Wind Systems will unveil their marketing and branding campaign for their entry and participation in the race. It is believed that campaign will focus around the fact that as a wind technology company, Vestas Wind Systems' involvement will focus on Green technology.

T Clewring - GenericBarz Optics - Melanin LensesWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line - Does the America's Cup really need a Star Chamber?
The first meeting of the three-man America's Cup Arbitration Panel is believed to have taken place in London The first meeting of the three-man America's Cup Arbitration Panel is believed to have taken place in London in the past week or so. Officially the date hasn't been publicly announced. The venue hasn't been publicly named, and the parties have appeared before a Panel that is publicly nameless.
Posted on 23 Jul
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on Emirates Team NZ's road to Bermuda
Part 2 of the interview with Emirates Team NZ skipper Glenn Ashby. In this part of the interview we look at what is going to happen once Emirates Team NZ get their 'AC49.5' sailing in Auckland, and how the campaign may shape up before they leave for Bermuda. Ashby wouldn’t be drawn on whether Team New Zealand had started their AC50 build, with July being the usual start of what is usually a five-month build and commissioning period for an end of December launch.
Posted on 10 Jul
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on Emirates Team NZ's new AC49.5
Sail-World talks with Emirates Team NZ skipper, Glenn Ashby on what is different about the team's new test boat Just under 11 months out from the 35th America’s Cup, Team New Zealand does not seem to be in its customary place at the front of the starting grid to be the first to launch their Challenger, or are they? Although they will be one of the last of the six teams to launch an AC45 Surrogate, Emirates Team New Zealand may have stolen a march with a boat that is as close as you can get to an AC50.
Posted on 9 Jul
Gladwell's Line - Emirates Team NZ launches shadow AC50
Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC4 Emirates Team NZ took a late but significant step along the road to the 35th America's Cup, with the launch of their AC45S - as the test boats are called in the Protocol which governs the 2017 event. The bloated Protocol, which now runs to 83 pages of legalese, is restrictive on the size of boat that can be built as a test platform but doesn't restrict the number that can be built.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Rio 2016 - Double Olympic medallist on the delights of Guanabara Bay
Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist Bruce Kendall updates on the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. Olympic Gold and Bronze medallist, and now a windsurfer coach, Bruce Kendall has made several trips to the 2016 Olympic venue at Guanabara Bay. He updates on the pollution issue which is clearly not going to be resolved in a couple of months, and also shares his views on the venue from a sailing competition perspective.
Posted on 14 Jun
America's Cup - Artemis win Chicago as Team Japan wins two races
Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. After losing the first official day of racing due to light winds and the non-arrival of the onshore breeze, Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series got three races away on Super Sunday. From a racing perspective this was probably the best day of racing yet in the series which counts for points in the Qualifying Series of the America's Cup in 11 months time.
Posted on 12 Jun
America's Cup - Emirates TNZ NZ and Oracle capsize in Chicago Practice
Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA capsized in Practice Racing at the Louis Vuitton ACWS Chicago There was action aplenty on Practice Day at Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Chicago, after Emirates Team New Zealand capsized in their match with Oracle Team USA, and then Oracle Team USA capsized later in the day. Team NZ's skipper skipper Glenn Ashby performed some impressive acrobatics ejecting from the AC45 capsize, without injury.
Posted on 11 Jun
America's Cup - Changes proposed to control future Cup options
Changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing according to the Daily Telegraph (UK) News that changes are being mooted to put the America's Cup on a longer-term footing is being floated in the Daily Telegraph (UK) by the British Challenger, Land Rover BAR. According to the Telegraph, some of the teams in the 2017 America's Cup are keen to lock-in parameters which would bind successive holders of the a style and frequency for the next America's Cup Match.
Posted on 8 Jun
America's Cup - AC50 construction uncovered - Part 2 - Wings and Costs
Second part of a two-part series looking at the AC50 construction progress at Core Builders Composites Second part of a two-part series looking at the construction progress at Core Builders Composites, and features of the AC50 class which will be used in the 35th America's Cup in Bermuda. Tim Smyth takes us on a tour of the CBC facility in Warkworth, and hour's drive north of Auckland. Where several AC50's, components and wingsails are under construction or have already been shipped to the teams.
Posted on 5 Jun