On Board Reporter Amory Ross gives us an update from Team Alvimedica on Leg 0, a mandatory Volvo Ocean Race rehearsal with the seven teams sailing to Majorca and back from Alicante:
It is common knowledge that the three weeks between now and October 4, the day of the first scored engagement between Volvo Ocean Race teams now surrounding us on the way to Palma in Leg 0, will go by too fast. There is no shortage of work to be done to the boats, to the bodies, and to the brains, but getting a handle on what’s feasible and most valuable during that time is easiest done at sea. Many of the distractions that tend to cloud onshore productivity are removed and it’s impossible not to focus on anything but the most pressing of processes: sailing this boat as a team, together.
This will be one of the youngest crews in the race. Our most experienced sailor, Will Oxley, is navigator, and his resources are largely directed at putting us in the right place on the map. The group of guys tasked with our performance through the water—they are either new to this race, or to their roles in it. So, as Ryan Houston suggests, “we probably have the most to gain.” Leg zero is our last chance to observe the other teams up close, to emulate, test, and experiment to our hearts content. In that sense, we are approaching these 400 some-odd miles to Palma with a very open mind.
But as Ryan continues, “maybe though, we also have the most to lose.” And it’s a valid point; we are built of ambitious, competitive individuals who are keen to prove themselves. For first timers Charlie, Mark, Seb, and Alberto, this is a massive opportunity on a world-class stage. And in the case of Ryan, Dave, Nick, and Will, all past-participants, this is now a one-design race and the excuses end. We have the tools and we have the talent and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to perform; expectations are high.
Regardless, Palma’s not far now and once through its bay, we make a hard turn back towards Alicante. This will be our final offshore session before leaving the dock for Cape Town, and that is a daunting but thrilling thought. A shiver of excitement just ran down my back!