Volvo Ocean Race: Skippers look forward to InPort Race and Leg 7

Skippers Media Conference after the Pro-Am, Miami - Volvo Ocean Race

The points table in the Volvo Ocean Race is now so tight between third and fourth places, that the leaderboard could change after the Miami In Port Race.

On the day of what’s set to be one of the most hotly contested in-port races of the series so far, the six skippers talked about their expectations, what it takes to win and how they could be just one bad start away from a podium slide.

Ian Walker, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
'It’s genuinely a wide-open race. I’m sure Iker’s not sitting there feeling too comfortable now. There are hardly any points between those leading boats. If you look back at some of the incidents, and you take away the mast breakages, then the boats would be pretty much tied on points, which shows that everyone is sailing very similar at a very high level.

'This is a transatlantic crossing, if one boat makes a big slip up in the leading three or four boats, or if someone breaks something, you’re getting to the stage where you might not recover. But for sure, it’s anyone’s race for those top four boats. I wish I was there fighting it out, it is one hell of a battle, it’s a tribute to the new rules, it’s has leveled the playing field a lot. Our job now is to get in their way and try and take as many points as possible.

'We’ve done well on the in-port races, we’ve won a couple of them. Right now our focus is trying to get a good result tomorrow and make sure we stay at the top of the pile for in-port points.'

Franck Cammas, Groupama sailing team
'We still have a lot to learn with the boat. These boats are very complicated, there is a lot of tuning to do, and it’s very interesting with the configuration. Sometimes it’s very different even if there is a small change in the wind angle. For sure it’s better when the others are very close. For me we learn still a lot, but we are the first entry for Groupama, so it’s still learning for us for sure.

'The big day is tomorrow, the day after as well. It’s a very close fight. I think we can lose a lot and we can gain a lot all the time. It’s very interesting, there is no easy way, you just have to do your best and see. PUMA did a very, very good two last legs, very good navigation, so I’d say they’re in a good way right now. CAMPER is always very steady, with no mistakes, so we have to stay here in the top and it is not easy. It’s a big challenge.'

Chris Nicholson, Camper
'We go out there and do our normal procedures, and normal races. We’ll be looking a lot more closely at particular boats in the next two in-ports, it’s just a little too early at this stage.'

Mike Sanderson, Team Sanya
'The boat’s in great shape at the moment. It’s ready to go and it’s great to be back with the fleet. It was particularly tough on the last leg, sitting it out. It was brutal having to watch. A Volvo 70 is a funny thing, it’s very happy right up to the time when it’s not happy. Every time we’ve had a failure we hadn’t even started pushing the thing as I would have pushed a boat in the past. It’s not really a whole lot we can do about it. There’s no point in us sailing the race a couple of thousand miles behind the fleet just for the sake of finishing, we’re too competitive for that, so we’re going to go and do our thing and do the thing how we know to do it and do our very best to keep the boat in one piece.'

Ken Read, Puma Ocean Racing
'Momentum is a wonderful thing, until it’s gone. Momentum is very fleeting. It’s just one bad start away, especially in these in-port races. These legs are so short, tomorrow you’ll see you just can’t recover, then you have to hope that somebody makes a mistake. You look at these boats and people just don’t make many mistakes, maybe if Iker goes around the wrong mark again, but we won’t go into that. It’s great to talk about momentum, because that means you’ve done something great in the past, but the past is the past and we have no idea what’s going to happen in the future.'

Iker Martínez, Team Telefónica
'We are getting to the finish of the race, and now there is no time for mistakes. You have to sail well; the difference in points is so small. If we are fourth again in this one everything can change. We spent a lot of time before arrive here, more than two years work, our goal was to be in the last leg with options to win the race. Today we are achieving our goal, but there are still three legs.'