Leg 7: Annapolis, U.S.A., to La Rochelle, France
Dispatch 8: How to Win | Dispatch Archive
May 9, 2002
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As the teams head in to la Rochelle they know that the positions will
change very little over the next few legs. The flyers we saw on the
trans-Atlantic leg are indicative of a need to win legs now rather [than
later in] the race.
The leg from Miami to Baltimore saw nothing too drastic in the way of
tactics. It is more difficult to take a flyer when sailing from south to
north or north to south.
The run west to east across the mighty Atlantic provides a great race
track, where, like the Southern Ocean, anything can happen. Chances
will be taken and navigators will be glued to the nav station.
There will be a feeling of getting home for the many Europeans on the
race and thoughts will be turning to how to make the most of the last
few of the many legs of this race.
I think the results are surprising this far. I was expecting to see
Amer One and Tyco with more points. Illbruck
really have dominated this race and have shown that planning and
preparation are everything.
At the other end of the scale Amer Too have demonstrated that the
lack of these two important ingredients makes for a miserable race. I
am often asked if the girls on Amer Too should have accepted
their poisoned chalice and have always said, “No.” Being thrown the
scraps of someone elses sailing project just so that you can get on a
boat is counter-productive. They have taken womens sailing back quite
a few steps.
Illbruck have demonstrated how you win the Volvo and looking back
on past races, it has always been so.
Yes, the weather can deal you a bad hand. And, yes, you can have
accidents. But the longer you plan, prepare, and train, the more in
charge you are of your chances. The idea is to squeeze the element of
luck into a tiny, tiny fraction.
I believe you have to raise your own money, put together your own
project, and choose your own team. So, for Amer Too, as for
maybe a couple other boats in this race, this time round was a training
It is often said that by the time you finish the Volvo, you have learnt
enough to start the race. How true.
Unless the element of luck comes into play, the results are now pretty
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