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19 April 2002, 09:36 am
Interview with Jez Fanstone
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Jez Fanstone ©Rick Tomlinson

Volvo Ocean Race

Team News Corp won leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race and Jez Fanstone was the skipper.
Q: Jez, this is your first victory, how does it feel?
A: It feels all right! Fantastic! Three years work for me and months and years for all the crew. A huge team effort, shore crew. Fantastic.

Q: You've had a couple of tough legs, how does it feel winning this one?
A: We didn't know we'd won it until we crossed the line. Literally, half a mile from the line we had stopped with no wind and it certainly not over until the fat lady sings in this sport so I think the relief is only just setting in and I think the elation will follow.

Q: How tough was the leg?
A: Physically, the actual conditions were very easy sailing. Very, very close racing. The first half was relatively easy because there was wind and we had speed and we picked some good shifts and some good sides and had a few breaks, but the last 36 hours were hell. We came into the Bay last night with a four-mile lead, and this morning the whole fleet compressed, Amer Sports One over took us and everyone was flapping. We went off and left them alone, got a bit of a lead and managed to hold it on, but it was a pretty stressful time.

Q: What won this leg for you?
A: It is a combination of good boat, good sails, great crew, good planning for the leg, good preparation, and great sponsor and just putting all the ingredients together. We had good speed out there which let us position ourselves and we picked some good shifts and some good sides and we did have lady luck on our side occasionally. That is what yacht racing is all about, getting all those millions of things together.

Q: How frustrating was it for you after getting such a great start and then realising you had to go back?
A: It was obviously too good a start.

Q: You started this leg with a somewhat new crew?
A: I have sailed against Stuart (Childerley) in Finns and with him in Solings and keelboats and he is a fantastic sailor and he just slotted straight into it. It was never a problem.

Q: It was the first leg without Ross, how was that?
A: Ross couldn't do the leg, so we had to do what we could, so we juggled things around and we had a big talk when we got to Miami, when we realised he couldn't do it, and came up with this solution and it's worked.

Q: How did it feel being the sole skipper?
A: Quite stressful! It is a huge responsibility, but it's a challenge and when you have a crew as good as this, as willing and able, it's easy.

Q: How frustrating was it to 'park up'?
A: Considering we weren't supposed to be interfering with any traffic when we came up here and we encountered three barges and went between two ships about 10 boat lengths between each ship - quite stressful.

Q: You've led on every leg but one at some stage in this race, how does it feel to finally get to where you wanted to be a lot earlier in the event?
A: It's great that we have done it because we always said we could and we have.

Q: With three legs remaining, and illbruck standing where she is now, do you think she can be beaten? Do you think that this boat can win the race?
A: Absolutely. We've always thought that from the start. As is proving out there right now, anything can happen and we could have ended up fourth or fifth in this leg from where we were and boats that were fourth or fifth could have ended up where we were. There are three legs, anything can happen.

Q: How was Bart (Simpson)?
A: Very quiet. I don't think he has recovered from his southern ocean experience.
Volvo Ocean Race Press/News Editor
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