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8 November 2001, 09:33 pm
Skippers Press Conference
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Volvo Ocean Race
Cape Town

The skippers of the different teams in the Volvo Ocean Race talk about the first leg, and their plans for the next leg.

GUNNAR KRANTZ - Team SEB

On looking back to Leg 2 in the previous Whitbread where, as skipper of Swedish Match, he led the leg from start to finish, splitting with the fleet just after the start:

'We had a lucky draw taking off on our own. It was the only situation where it was a benefit to finish eighth on the first let - because nobody wanted to follow us. We were basically out on our own getting in the breeze and going south before the door closed behind us with the high pressure moving in.'

On plans for the next leg:

'As we did all the upwind work on the previous leg, we're leaving the upwind sails on the dock.'

On changes to the boat as it has been out of the water for a long time:

Joking, ' yes, we're put on a new bigger bulb!! No just mending broken pieces and of course replacing our headboard car.'

On crew changes:

'We're changing one person and we will announce that on the day before the restart.'

JEZ FANSTONE - Team News Corp

On the first leg:

'It was a very good leg for us. We pretty much achieved everything we set out to do. It has set us up very nicely for this leg and we are very much looking forward to getting out there.'

On crew changes for Leg Two:

'We always planned to change one guy, and Joe Spooner has gone back to Team New Zealand to help them in the defence of the America's Cup and we are taking on Gordon McGuire (IRE) who is a very experienced helmsman and I sailed with him on Silk Cut. This will be his fourth race around the world and I am looking forward to having him come on board to strengthen our driving down in the South where you need good, cool hands on the wheel.'

JOHN KOSTECKI - illbruck Challenge

On the stopover in Cape Town:

'We've been trying to enjoy Cape Town, relax a little bit and survive some protests.

On crew changes for Leg Two:

'We had one crew change scheduled before Leg One. We're adding Noel Drennan, who has done 17 Sydney-Hobarts. He is a great helmsman and he has been training with us for six months and it will be great to have him onboard. Ian Moore will not be doing this leg.'

On the pressure of being the leader:

'It's part of the business and we've just got to keep working, and keep pushing. It's a long race and a lot more is going to happen'.

LISA MCDONALD - Amer Sports Too

On the short preparation time:

'We have an excellent structure to the shore-side part of our campaign and the guys have really helped to ensure that our boat will be ready for the Southern Ocean. We're down to the last minute details, loading the boat, checking our final preparations in the next day or so. The last leg was a fantastic training leg for us and we learned a lot about our upwind sails and had a great race and we are very much looking forward to the next leg when we can put up spinnakers and go fast.'

On being a first-time skipper:

'It's great. It's a fantastic new job. I think the most rewarding thing for me, is that because I work around the watches, I have great appreciation for each watch, the way they (the crew) have gelled together in such a short period of time, they are all working incredibly well together - they are a very strong team.'

On crew changes:

'We have a change that was always meant to happen from the beginning and I will announce the starting line up for Sunday, tomorrow.'

NEAL MCDONALD - Assa Abloy Racing Team

On whether he expected to be announced skipper of Assa Abloy:

'No, I didn't expect this at all. I would be lying if I said I thought that I would be skipper. It's beginning to sink in a bit. I'm actually looking forward to going out there (Southern Ocean) and doing some sailing, rather than standing around on the shore.'

On pulling the team back together after the unscheduled change of skipper:

'I don't think anybody would expect it to be an easy task. We have had two unscheduled changes this stopover, and I have spent a long time trying to replace those people, and, obviously, to get the right calibre of people in the time available has been very hard. We are happy to have signed on two new people for this leg and basically replace two of our best drivers. One of them you know about was Roy, the other one, my Spanish chum, Guillermo Altadill, has had to go home to sort out some family problems, but he will be joining us again soon.'

GRANT DALTON - Amer Sports One

On seeing his new daughter:

'I was always planning to go home for a few days and just had to get over there (New Zealand) a bit sooner than I expected. She (new daughter) is perfect, and my wife is coping as she always does when I am away for long periods of time.'

On preparations:

'We're ready to go basically, every day is important to us. We're still in catch-up mode. We just can't get out of it, we were trying to catch up before the start and now we're trying to catch up for the restart. I've always said that by Auckland we will have caught up as such. It will be interesting and we will have to wait and see.'

On looking forward to the Southern Ocean:

'No not at all - I hate it.. These guys are masochists if they like it. I'll be pleased when we get to Sydney frankly!'

KEVIN SHOEBRIDGE - Team Tyco

On the first leg:

'It was a little bit of an up and down leg for us really. We started off with a hiss and a roar and it didn't pan out as we had hoped, but in the end it was a reasonable result.'

On Leg two:

'It is an interesting leg in that there is going to be two distinct parts to it. There's the southern ocean leg which is going to be a hang- on sort of leg, and we're going to pile into the high pressure up by Western Australia and battle across the Australian Bight, so there are opportunities there for someone breaking through and getting away, or a park-up. It could go either way.'

On crew changes:

'We're running the same team and we have really just been working on a lot of little jobs, general maintenance as opposed to any major changes to the boat and obviously the sail checks, we are changing our inventory to suit the next leg.'

KNUT FROSTAD - Djuice Dragons

On the damaged headboard car:

'I think we have solved it. We have had some guys working on ever since it came down on the second day, so we have had plenty of time to solve it. It looks good.'

On crew changes:

'Yes, we have one planned change, Christen's wife is giving birth next week, so that was obviously known to him before we started. So Terry Hutchinson is coming onboard. Terry has been with us since early August and has been involved early in the programme. He is going to do quite a few legs with us, and we are looking forward to having him onboard, he's a strong driver. We have made another change which is not scheduled. We have had two navigators for the first leg and decided that it didn't work out. We were in the wrong place quite a few times, so we have worked hard on that during the stopover and so one of the navigators is going off and another crewmember is coming on, from inside the team.'

On the next leg:

'I'm looking forward to it. I was born in a country that is pretty cold, so I don't mind that. There is some great sailing down there (Southern Ocean).'
Volvo Ocean Race Press/News Editor
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