VOR 2014-15 – Getting serious , the pace is picking up

Ian Walker talks to Sail-World.com by satellite phone.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
With just 88 days to the start of the race in Alicante Spain, the wheels are turning.

Changes in the nature of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 have as expected moved the race from a technical boat design competition to an emphasis on sailing ability.

British Volvo Ocean Race veteran 44 year old Ian Walker is very happy with the change.

After winning silver medals at two Olympics, 1996 silver in the 470 class, 2000 silver in the Star, then coaching Shirley Robertson to the 2004 Olympic Gold, Walker turned his attention offshore.

Green Dragon, skippered by Ian Walker (GBR) at the start of leg 9 from Marstrand to Stockholm

In 2008-09, he skippered Green Dragon to a fifth place and then led Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's debut in the race in 2011-12, finishing third.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Ian Walker from the UK, in rough weather, on the approach to the finish of leg 8, from Lisbon, Portugal, to Lorient, France, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race)

Following that mathematical progression, this time the veteran racer is aiming for the top step on the podium.

This coral off the coast of Panama shows holes bored into its skeleton by bioeroders.
Hannah Barkley, WHOI

I talked to Ian yesterday, in mid-Atlantic returning from Newport to the UK, as part of their pre-race train. That interview is below.

2015 Mini Transat - Îles de Guadeloupe

Today, I talked to the youngest skipper so far entered in the Volvo race, American Charlie Enright who is the skipper of Team Avimedica. Also on a passage to the UK, the two boats started together in Newport are forbidden from racing but Enright, did tell me the two boats are within 10 miles of each other.

Volvo 65's Team Alvimedica and Abu Dhabi training in Lisbon - Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

Almost all the crew is under 30 but Will Oxley has taken on the navigator role, which is an enormous boost to the team. We will publish the interview with Enright tomorrow and then we will talk to the Aussie navigator when he hits dry land.

Team Alvimedica

As Alicante, the race start point is less than 100km from the Sail-World European base, we will be reporting in greater detail than ever before on this race.

Mens winners - Belcher and Ryan - Medal Races - 2014 470 Europeans, Greece, July 2014

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan took out the Open European titles today, as expected, lots of pix and results.

Vale, John Walker, a sailor and a gentleman, whose very English voice used to fascinate on radio skeds.

More new later.