Mark Towill is relishing the prospect of facing four of the other Volvo Ocean Race teams in the Round Britain and Ireland Race, which starts in Cowes on the Isle of Wight on Sunday.
“I think more than anything it’s the first opportunity where we can sail against multiple other Volvo 65s; from that standpoint it will be a good learning opportunity. It’s a coastal race with lots of corners and headlands, so it will certainly keep us on our toes, and there’ll be an emphasis on boat-handling, for sure. I haven’t done this race before so I’m looking forward to ticking that box. The most important thing is to develop on the things we need to work on as a team, and lining up with the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race teams to get a better gauge of where we are at.”
After two successful Transatlantic crossings, Towill is delighted with the team’s progression in a short space of time.
“Charlie and I made a schedule back in January and we’re exactly where we wanted to be, so it’s all been progressing as planned. Now that we have solidified our team, we can use the Round Britain Race to learn how to work better together.”
Towill believes the team, the youngest in the Volvo Ocean Race, has found the right chemistry.
“It’s important to gel quickly and we’ve done that. How you work together and how you get on is a big part of success, and something we need to continue to refine. It will certainly be one of our focuses.”
As a newcomer to the VOR, Towill is savouring every minute of what will be a life-changing experience?
“It’s crazy to think what Charlie and I have achieved and done in the last seven months. Things are certainly moving very quickly and the start of the Volvo Ocean Race will be around the corner before we know it, so I’m certainly trying to take in every moment and enjoy the experience.”
Towill believe the team’s youth and hunger will more than make up for a lack of round the world sailing experience.
“I look at it as a challenge and an opportunity – something I am so excited about. We certainly are going to be the young team of the race and relatively inexperienced, but I actually think we’ve got a really healthy mix of previous VOR experience along with youthful ambition and drive. We’ve got a number of guys on the team who have done the race before. We’ve also got people like myself who haven’t done it but who are excited about this wonderful opportunity. We’ve got a really healthy mix, and it’s going to be a good group.”