Yachting Australia Corporate Partner
Q+A with the AYF's Genevieve White
After taking more than 37 days to finish Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race, a tired but happy AYF Training Manager Genevieve White, navigator aboard Amer Sports Too, spoke dockside.
Q: How was the leg?
A: It all came together brilliantly. We put a lot into it, probably more because we were out there longer! We’re really happy with the things that we did, we’re happy with the fact that we spent some time getting used to the sails and the crossovers, and the angles, and really the teamwork side of things.
Q: You were basically doing your sail testing on this leg weren’t you?
A: Unfortunately yes, although we have got very experienced sailors onboard on the performance front. Katie Pettibone knows sails very well, and Anna, they’ve got a lot of background. And we’ve also got girls onboard who have done the race before so it’s not like we’ve come into it cold, we’ve got a lot of experience to use.
Q: How difficult was the navigation – nothing did as it was supposed to!
A: I just kept wondering when it was all going to come together! I’m really pleased with the plan though and we just found that some of the shifts were big – we went upwind for a lot of days – the shifts that were shifting anything up to 40 degrees, and would last for anything from 10 minutes to four hours. A little bit unpredictable and a lot of squalls! Coming through that squally weather means it is fairly unpredictable.
Q: You gave several of the guys a good race:
A: Between the Islands was just an incredible feeling because the whole time every little trim and every little movement of ballast made such a difference to the speed. I think we worked out we were alongside djuice for about 1500 miles, within 10 miles and when we were coming round the second Island we rounded in front of both boats – we had a great run down. The winds were a bit light after that, then we had it on the nose. Really the whole race could be broken into two or three different bits, and each of those we had some real races on with djuice and SEB – we gave them a run for their money!
Q: Everyone is looking quite well, how are you physically?
A: We did a great job of rationing; we started that early on so have had a reasonable size of meal the whole way through. Snacks – fair enough we were a little bit hungry, but that part wasn’t a hardship necessarily compared to what we heard from the other boats - I think it’s the mental side, the emotional side of it, where the days keep dragging on. The last couple of days were better, and yesterday of course was a fantastic day, we gained lots of miles and were in two different breezes.
Q: Time enough to get everything ready for Sydney?A: We’ve got a shore crew that are just completely on the ball, they’re ready to jump onboard during the period of time we’ve got. We’re going to try and take a couple of days of time on our own! We’ve got the list sorted out, and we always knew there would be a lot of work to do anyway. With some of the damage we had early on, the shore crew is ready for that, and we did quite a lot of fixing while we were out there.
Q: Any key moments?
A: It was a race where we thought we were going to have a difficult time, overall we were actually pretty pleased with how we did, we were in fine company throughout the race. For me, there were a number of moments, they were both good and bad – and it all comes down to that moving forward and moving back. It’s quite an emotional roller coaster actually. It was a very, very long race for us!
Q: Was your performance better than you expected?
A: You always hear stories about the girls being a week behind last time, whereas we've come in just six or seven hours behind the boats in front of us. In some ways we did better than expected, but among all of us we're all so competitive that deep down we know we can do it. No we're not surprised at all.