It was surreal to be staying down on Gunwharf Quay. At the hotel I was staying in were also many crew including most of Brazil, as well as others such as Sir Chay Blythe.
Wandering around you'd come across Paul Cayard and his fellow Pirates deep in discussion.
Then there'd be every third person with a team jacket. Some crew, some shore team, some PR, some friends and family and some just fans. So I talked to a Pirate crewman, two Ericsson employees with stories of a wild gleam in Neal McDonald's eye and heard sad tales from the dad of a Movistar shore team.
During the day there was the question and answer session with crew from Brunel, Ericsson, Pirates and Brunel (the ABN teams were recovering from a party the previous night).
There was a lot of discussion about the future of the Volvo. The overwelming response from the sailors was support for the VO70 class. These boats might be extreme, but thats just fine by them. But they'd like more crew per boat to help do those frequent sail changes.
Should the Volvo be every 2, 3 or 4 years? The pretty Volvo girl I talked felt that three years would be a good compromise, sticking to the VO70. We deamt of a future with ten Black Betties storming round the world.....
Up close from the quay side she looked light years ahead of the others. Its not just her beamyness - its that the the widest point is at the stern, unlike the others that are broadest near their middle. The cockpit seen here is also very clean - a wide open platform to work in.
ABN1 is the boat all want to sail. Including Dee Cafari, guest of Mike Sanderson in the picture below. And no, I didn't recognise her.
All pictures (c) Captain JP