Friday, 11 November 2011

Abu Dhabi team loses the battle, but not the war

Ian Walker makes the tough call to retire from Leg 1 
Nick Dana/Volvo Ocean Race
Skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker, has just made one of the bravest calls of his racing career - he’s retired from Leg 1 and will ship the boat to Cape Town.

There were just too many unknown variables for the team to deal with.

I guess this is a case of losing the battle, but not the war.

Wishful thinking
After they lost the mast and suspended racing just six hours into the race, the team put in a massive effort to get back out racing again.

They launched and set off late on Wednesday evening. The most optimistic outcome for them would have been that the four leading boats sailed into a ‘doldrum car park’ and allowed Abu Dhabi to catch up.

However, with all the wishful thinking in the world, they are over 900 miles behind and it was very unlikely to happen.

Be confident
You sometimes have to take one step backwards to take two forward in life. By getting to Cape Town as soon as possible they can concentrate on preparations for leg 2.

They will now sail to the port of Lisbon and ship the boat to Cape Town around the 28 November. Leg 2 starts on the 10 December and they want to be ready to race.

When sailing across oceans with teammates, a skipper must have the confidence in boat, rig and sails to get the finish line safely.

With such a rush job - getting an untested mast and setting out to sea - I guess Ian could not comfortably say he was 100 per cent confident.

Mark Covell

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