In the Volvo Ocean Race, Team Sanya for the second time in two legs, are facing a test of resource and resolve just to continue in the race. For skipper Mike Sanderson, there is no doubt that they will return ready to pounce in time for Leg 3.
Sanya suffered a rigging failure while they were leading in Leg 2, forcing them to head to Madagascar to finalise a repair plan that should allow them to rejoin the race when the fleet returns to the safe haven port for the second stage of Leg 3.
The incident was a bitter blow for Sanderson, who skippered ABN Amro One to victory in the 2005-06 race, but the New Zealander has already seen enough to convince him that the only team racing in a second-hand boat can still be hugely successful on their own terms.
'It’s very important that we remember what this campaign is about, which is making noise, punching above our weight, being opportunistic to get on the podium and mixing it with the big boys,' said Sanderson. 'We’ve got a lot to be pleased about with this leg.'
'It’s no longer about the points. For me really it never was. It was really about getting this team’s name up in lights as often as possible. Leg 2 has shown we can do that, just given a fair hand.'
Sanderson’s previous experience of Madagascar had been limited to watching the Disney cartoon of the same name with his two children.
Despite the shock of being forced on a detour to the island, the New Zealander found reason to smile thanks to Puma skipper Ken Read, who is obviously a fan of Disney’s Madagascar as well.
Sanderson said he had received an email from Read expressing his team’s sympathy for the situation, which also included memorable quote from the movie: 'Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.’’
After crashing out of Leg 1 when the boat struck something on the opening night, Sanderson said he was feeling a little like his team have been dealt more than their fair share of misfortunes so far. 'It’s very similar to us hitting something,' he said. 'It’s not like we were pushing the boat too hard. It’s not like we put it into the storm and paid the price for that, which has been implied a few times,’’ he added.
'We never expected to be facing these kinds of challenges -- we wanted to be out there mixing it up. It’s incredibly disappointing how it’s gone.'
'You know, I could just as easily have hit something in ABN Amro One, I could just as easily have broken a D2 in ABN Amro One, but for some reason we were a little luckier than that.
'You definitely need to be lucky to win the Volvo Ocean Race because nothing we have done is due to stupidity or bad choices.'
Volvo Ocean Race website