TEAM ABN AMRO | VOLVO OCEAN RACE | Portsmouth
ABN AMRO TWO to race on 31 May 2006
Sebastien Josse, skipper of ABN AMRO TWO announced this morning that he and his crew will continue in the 2005/6 Volvo Ocean Race. The crew’s participation in the race was thrown into doubt following the tragic death of their crewmate, Hans Horrevoets. Since the incident TEAM ABN AMRO management made it clear that they would fully support the decision of the crew regarding their future participation. After racing in Monday’s in port race and finishing a credible fourth place, the brave young team now intend to fight their way back onto the race podium with no doubt in their minds that this is what Hans would want.
Seb Josse announced the team’s plans and said: “We are all agreed that we want to continue this race for Hans and that it is what he would have wanted us to do. After the tragic events of the last leg we needed to take some time to ourselves before deciding what next but we are all in agreement that this is what we want to do. I was very pleased with the way the crew performed on Monday in the in-port race and the real determination from everyone to do well. We now have to concentrate on getting back on the podium in time for the finish in Gothenburg.”
Seb Josse and the ABN AMRO TWO crew were also presented with the Seamanship award at the Volvo Ocean Race leg 7 prize giving for the fantastic effort and seamanship that they showed in first finding and getting Hans back on board and then going on to rescue the movistar crew. They were praised for the professional manner in which they carried out the manoeuvres during a very difficult time. Bouwe Bekking, skipper of the stricken yacht, movistar was there to present the award to the crew and commented: “It was hard to ask the ABN AMRO TWO boys to come back as they already had plenty on their plate. It's been a very hard call for them and, hopefully, they can find a little comfort in the fact that they have saved 10 lives. A boat is just a boat, you can replace it, but lives you cannot."
ABN AMRO TWO are currently in fourth place overall just three and a half points behind Brasil 1 and nine points behind the Pirates of the Caribbean in second place. Whilst ABN AMRO ONE can no longer be beaten in the Volvo Ocean Race, it is entirely possible for ABN AMRO TWO to pull through to take one of the two remaining podium positions, with a maximum of 17.5 points still available for the taking in this race.
The TEAM now begin preparations for Leg 8, which starts on Friday 2nd June, at 1730 hours just off Southsea Castle, at the southern tip of the city of Portsmouth. From here they will race through the western Solent, out into the English Channel, past Lands End and out towards the Fastnet Rock, before heading northwards round the top of Britain and Ireland en route to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, home of TEAM ABN AMRO.
A birthday bash round the Solent 29 May 2006
by Andy Rice of Sailing Intelligence
It’s hard to imagine that even the mightily focused Mike Sanderson could have found much time or energy over the past few days to concentrate on winning the In Port race in Portsmouth. He has experienced every possible extreme of emotions, what with getting married in England on Friday, going to Hans Horrevoets’ funeral in the Netherlands on Saturday, and then coming back to Portsmouth to prepare for today’s race on the occasion of his 35th birthday.
And yet despite all the distractions, Sanderson’s crew on ABN AMRO ONE took the race in fine style. Of course with the Volvo Ocean Race already won, the pressure was off the team in many respects, but these guys are too professional to give anything other than their very best every time they go out on the water.
Good spirit aboard ABN AMRO TWO
For ABN AMRO TWO, this was the team’s opportunity to give their all in honour of their much-missed crew mate and friend, Hans Horrevoets. Sébastien Josse looked relieved to be able to turn his mind back to the more straightforward business of going boat racing. “The crew gave 200 per cent effort today,” smiled the Frenchman after a respectable 4th place. “The spirit aboard the boat was very good.”
The British weather threw a bit of everything at the six boats racing today – sun, rain, too much wind, not enough wind. Simon Fisher said they had to cope with everything from 3 to 30 knots of breeze during the course of the two-and-a-half hour race. The wind direction was also shifting wildly, but both ABN AMRO boats put themselves in good positions on the start line to be able to tack out towards the right-hand side of the course. Pre-race strategy and analysis suggested the right-hand side would pay. Pirates of the Caribbean, on the other hand, favoured continuing out to the left side, and came back into the first turning mark with just over a minute’s lead on ABN AMRO ONE. As Sanderson quipped later, “We chose the right, which turned out to be wrong.”
Stealing the Pirates’ thunder
For a while, Pirates continued to extend their lead over Sanderson, while ABN AMRO TWO was breathing down Ericsson’s neck in a close tussle for fourth and fifth place. About an hour into the race, and a massive squall tore through the fleet and made for some hair-raising moments on board every boat. But the squall worked to the advantage of both ABN AMRO teams, as the gennakers on Pirates and Ericsson both shredded in the merciless wind. Sanderson forged past Cayard and took up a lead that ABN AMRO ONE would extend to over four minutes by the finish. And Sébastien Josse capitalised on Ericsson’s misfortune to storm into fourth place, with Pirates clinging on to second ahead of Brasil 1 in third.
Juan Kouyoumdjian, designer of the ABN AMRO boats, was in Portsmouth to see Sanderson claim his fourth victory from six In Port races to date. The Argentinean was modest about his boats’ performances. “I didn’t do anything today, they are very well sailed boats,” he said.
Hard work on ABN AMRO ONE
There is little doubt that today’s conditions played strongly to the ABN AMRO suit, but it was also a day for solid sailing skills, and Sanderson paid tribute to his team’s ever-reliable boathandling abilities. “The boys gave me a beautiful birthday present today – they were awesome. On two occasions we had big gusts, once on starboard and another as we gybed, but we got pretty good at gybing with gusts and that allowed us to catch Pirates. It’s been quite a week for me personally and it’s great to finish my first race as a married man in first place.”
Such as been the past week that the team barely had time to practise. In fact, Sanderson says they managed a full 18 minutes of training beforehand, “10 minutes upwind, and 8 downwind”. Thanks to the shore crew, however, the boat was as reliable as ever and performed beautifully, added the beaming Kiwi.
Bowman Justin Slattery added: “We’ve had quite a week and it’s been a very emotional time for the team what with the tragedy of the last leg. Then Mike’s wedding on Friday was a great day for him and Emma, and a privilege for me to be a groomsman. Then to go on to the funeral of Hans the next day was hard. But I’m pleased we could finish on a high note.”
Keep on keeping on
Simply to be back racing was good for the crew on ABN AMRO TWO, but to get a fourth place ahead of Ericsson and Brunel was a nice little extra. Si Fi commented: “It was great for us all to get back into the water again. You’ve got to move on and keep on racing, that’s why we do this sport. Because of the recent events, we didn’t get any time to train before the race so it was really good to see the crew put in a solid performance today. For me it was great to race in my own country and have all my family here – a rare pleasure.” Skipper Seb Josse would doubtless like to make a quick visit back to his homeland just across the water and catch up with family and close friends, but there is precious little time to get ready for the start of the next offshore leg around Britain to Rotterdam.
After the race and the prizegiving, many of the crew were due to go to a big party in nearby Gosport. The party has been months in the making, but after all the massive highs and lows of the past couple of weeks you can bet that the team will be partying hard. Looking back on the frenetic battle in the Solent today, ABN AMRO ONE navigator Stan Honey admitted that they might have received a little outside help in a race that ended up working out better than expected. The Californian smiled: “I think there was cosmic assistance there, it being a birthday for Moose as well as being a newly wed.”
In-Port Race Results
1st ABN AMRO ONE, 02hrs 14 mins 16 secs
2nd Pirates of the Caribbean, 02 hrs 18 mins 30 secs
3rd Brasil 1, 02 hrs 22 mins 00 secs
4th ABN AMRO TWO, 02 hrs 24 mins 56 secs
5th Ericsson Racing Team, 02 hrs 26 mins 55 secs
6th Brunel , 02 hrs 27 mins 44 secs
Current Leaderboard (points not ratified)
(position/team name/skipper/race points to date)
1st ABN AMRO ONE, Mike Sanderson (NZL) 84.5 pts
2nd Pirates of the Caribbean, Paul Cayard (USA) 59.5 pts
3rd Brasil 1, Torben Grael (BRA) 52.0 pts
4th ABN AMRO TWO, Sebastien Josse (FRA) 48.5 pts
5th movistar, Bouwe Bekking (NED) 48.0 pts
6th Ericsson Racing Team, Neal McDonald (GBR) 45.0 pts
7th Brunel, Grant Wharington (AUS) 8.0 pts
ABN AMRO TWO to compete in Portsmouth in-port race 25 May 2006
Sébastien Josse, Skipper of ABN AMRO TWO announced today that the crew will take part in the Portsmouth inport race on Monday 29 May. Participation in the race has been thrown into doubt following the loss of the crew’s teammate, Hans Horrevoets, who died in a tragic accident during the New York to Portsmouth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Seb Josse commented: “We are all keen to go on – we know that it is what Hans would have wanted and the first step is to get back out on the water for the in port race. Of course it will not be easy but the whole team has decided to go sailing on Monday and we will be doing it for Hans. Gerd Jan [Poortman] will be on board and Coxy [Neil Cox] will also join us as the 11th man. We have not yet made a decision on the rest of the race, that will be made next week after the in port race.”
The decision came after an emotional press conference in Portsmouth on Tuesday when the crew explained how the incident happened, their memories of Hans and also the dramatic rescue of the movistar crew who were forced to abandon their boat. However, no decision has been made regarding participation in the next leg of the race which starts in Portsmouth on 2 June and races to Rotterdam.
In Tuesday’s press conference TEAM ABN AMRO Technical Sailing Director, Roy Heiner said, “The decision to carry on in this race is entirely down to Seb and the crew and they are under no pressure from TEAM ABN AMRO to make that decision yet. Whatever they do, TEAM ABN AMRO will support them. ”
The team will meet up again in Portsmouth on Sunday 28 May to prepare for the in-port race following the funeral of Hans Horrevoets in the Netherlands on Saturday 27.