Sailing: At last we have a gameplan that works: When all else fails, do nothing

Another leg, another perspective. We were under a lot of pressure, much of it external in Miami, for better results as discussion centred around a campaign that had been doing well, but had slipped away. It was one of those scenarios where you just had to have faith in the structure and the strength of the team.

Another leg, another perspective. We were under a lot of pressure, much of it external in Miami, for better results as discussion centred around a campaign that had been doing well, but had slipped away. It was one of those scenarios where you just had to have faith in the structure and the strength of the team.

We knew what a difference a week could make. It would have been too easy to spin all sorts of answers to questions about what we were going to do and I said in this paper that I was going to take a positive decision not to do anything because I did not think anything was broken.

If we had arrived in Baltimore and things were still bad, then I might have thought something was broken and needed fixing. It isn't broken.

So, it's been satisfying to me that a deliberate decision to do nothing, which was the harder of the two options, has proved correct. My faith in experience has not let me down.

But nothing has changed. Coming in second may look as if things have come right, but inwardly nothing is any different. The structure, the guys, the boat are still the same.

As for the next leg, will it be good or bad? I don't plan to change anything here either but I never saw the problem as one of waiting for any of the top three boats to come back to us. We had to climb up to them.

And for that I would give a huge amount of credit to our weather analyst 'Clouds', the Sydney-based Roger Badham. His pre-race briefing was spot on and that meant we could position ourselves on the course in exactly the right place. The first part of the course was easy, but the run up Chesapeake Bay was bloody tricky.

We were in an impossible position with the leader, News Corp, whom we had overtaken, going one way, the chasing pack going the other and we were piggy in the middle. It was more important for us to cover Assa Abloy and illbruck behind us; we wanted to beat them just a little more than we needed to beat News Corp.

That meant the leg was very intense, even though it only lasted just over three days. It may not have been as hard physically, but we spent so much time working at it that I finished feeling more tired than I would at the end of a much longer leg.

We were also sure that we did the right thing by taking fewer sails – another example of confidence in Clouds paying off – and one of the guys said that the fat girl (our boat, Amer Sports One) enjoyed being on a diet.

We will be fully geared up for the next leg across the Atlantic, but I think you could see not only people and sails being left on the dock for the last leg from Gothenburg to Kiel, but some similar thinking for the leg from La Rochelle up to Kiel.

I stand by my feeling that this race is now, essentially, for second, third, and fourth, especially if the overall leader, John Kostecki, takes illbruck to another top-three spot on the next leg. Mathematically, we and others could still win, and gear failure could always turn things.

What is not helpful is talk of sending us all on a bus trip round the Channel and Western Approaches on the leg from La Rochelle up to Sweden just because the race committee is worried about us arriving too early for them to have cleared the boats from our marina. Surely they have had enough time to work that out? The trouble is that the more turning marks you put into the course the less opportunity there is for us to make our own tactical decisions and we need that if we are to separate from illbruck.

Longer term, everybody is talking about future races. I am still undecided and too many of the inputs have been driven by self-interest. But, it would be helpful to crystallise at least the decision to stage the next race, if only to stop any rivals from trying to establish a foothold.

For us, there is this race to finish. I know I tend to air my worries and complaints publicly, but that is largely because I am always striving for perfection. I was a worried man in Miami, but I am a little happier in Maryland.

Grant Dalton, the skipper of Amer Sports One, was talking to Stuart Alexander at the end of the Miami to Baltimore leg of the Volvo Ocean Race

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent