Volvo Ocean Race skippers talk the talk on race eve

Franck Cammas at the Skippers Press Conference in the Abu Dhabi Destination Village in Abu Dhabi during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
In the Volvo Ocean Race, it is the eve of the Etihad Airways In-Port Race and the skippers are sharing their thoughts on the challenges that lie before them.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker: 'For us, our goal at the start was to get into the top three. We're fifth so we have some work to do. If you'd said we'd lose our mast inside the first six hours of Leg 1, I wouldn't have believed it and Leg 2 was a tough leg. We have every reason to believe we can catch up and the leaderboard may not reflect the whole story. There are a lot of points left and one incident can curtail a whole race. We have to keep chipping away but you have to sail very very well to beat anyone.'

Team Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez: 'The wind could be a bit of everything, but it looks like it could be vey light wind or light to medium and for sure it will be a very difficult race. As a team, we've seen it has been vey close each time. We were last in Alicante, and then we won, so no one knows what will happen -- not even us. We'll try our best.'

Groupama sailing team skipper Franck Cammas: 'For sure we are more confident in reaching and fast boat speed conditions so I cross my fingers for Saturday and for the same wind we had when we arrived. That's very good for us, for sure.'


Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg skipper Ken Read: 'There was plenty of debris doing this leg last time. Entering the straits there seemed to be a ton of debris but like Mike said it's unlit things that don't get out of your way -- fishing nets, fishing boats, a lot of stuff. This is definitely not the most pleasurable leg. I'll tell you in a few weeks (if it's got worse). Depending on where we go things seem to be changing.'

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Chris Nicholson: 'Considering all the challenges this next leg has with regards to added shipping, fishing boats, nets, all the man-made hazards that this world’s produced, that’s more where our concern is. If we can get through all those things in good shape then we’ll be on the podium. I think when you look at the points and where we are in the world, we’re still very much in the early days of this race there’s so much yet to play out.'

Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson: 'The next leg is looking tricky with a lot of upwind. There's going to be some very confined waters with a lot of unlit fishing boats and nets which are on the surface and pretty random, and there are plenty of man-made obstacles halfway through the leg. Being halfway makes it very tricky. You've just got your team into the swing of it, six or seven days, then you have this nasty period in the middle when you'll be short tacking or whatever the conditions allow and will be tricky. Then there's a pretty long beat up to China and it will be tough.'

'Performance wise we are probably not as good in light airs as we hoped, but we are a lot more competitive in the ocean than we feared we would be.'

Volvo Ocean Race website
http://www.sail-world.com/92831