In the Volvo Ocean Race, it's the closest Damian Foxall has been to victory in four attempts, but the Groupama watch captain says that the French team can't afford to drop a beat if their dreams of victory are to come true.
Damian Foxall onboard Groupama Sailing Team
Led by Franck Cammas, Groupama sailing team have a relatively comfortable 23-point lead in the overall standings going into the last three scoring opportunities of the 2011-12 edition.
But despite their advantage, Foxall said overall glory on the team’s Volvo Ocean Race debut is far from assured, and they must sail cleverly to fend off the inevitable attacks from their rivals in the two remaining in-port races and Leg 9 from Lorient, France, to Galway, Ireland.
'Now we have to keep pushing,' the 43-year-old Irishman said. 'We have a very fast boat if not the fastest boat in the fleet, and we've learned how to sail it very well.
'There is no reason we can't win this race. We've believed that from the start and now everyone else believes it.
'It would be a huge failure for us to do anything other than win the Volvo Ocean Race from here.
'However, we are all very aware we can lose it from here. A technical hitch or a couple of poor starts like we have had recently from Lisbon and it all goes down the drain.
'We can't let that happen.'
Eight months of the most extreme ocean racing have taken their toll on both man and boat, but Foxall said Groupama’s achievements over the race are what are giving the crew the boost they need to fulfil their goal.
'The success we have achieved over the last eight months has enabled the whole team to push the fatigue and the wear and tear of the Volvo Ocean Race aside and to keep pushing forward,' he said.
'That’s a very important element of winning the Volvo Ocean Race.
'Here we are leading the Volvo Ocean Race with a significant advantage which we should be able to defend if we sail smart and could easily lose if we don't.
'If all goes well we are going to be sailing into Galway with a fantastic Volvo Ocean Race last leg and hopefully we will still be leading the race but there is still a lot of sailing to go between now and then.'
The Bretagne In-Port Race takes place on the waters of Lorient on Saturday, June 30, with the final offshore leg from Lorient to Galway starting the following day.
Volvo Ocean Race website