Monday, May 03, 2010

Adam Minoprio talks to Valencia Sailing about the Volvo Ocean Race

Adam Minoprio, the reigning ISAF World Match Racing Champion and winner of the 2009 World Match Racing Tour, was in Calpe for the Open de España, calling tactics on Michelle Perris' yacht. Valencia Sailing caught up with Minoprio and talked about Team New Zealand and their Volvo Ocean Race project.

Valencia Sailing: Let's start with the obvious question. Why do you want to do the Volvo Ocean Race?
Adam Minoprio: Growing up in New Zealand, as a boy I watched the Whitbread coming into Auckland and most of New Zealand's greatest sailors have gone through the Volvo Ocean Race. It's also a natural step of progression for me and since the opportunity came along, I certainly jumped into it. I really look forward to it.

Valencia Sailing: It's certainly a change for you, going from short upwind/downwind legs in small boats to sailing 40,000 miles around the globe.
Adam Minoprio: It's going to be a huge difference and that's part of the challenge but at the end of the day it is just boat sailing and I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun. I have done a few offshore races, not as many as I probably would like, and I enjoyed all of them.

Valencia Sailing: What's the longest offshore race you have done?
Adam Minoprio: It's the Sydney Hobart and we did it in a pretty quick time, two days and two hours on a TP52.

Valencia Sailing: What will the biggest challenge as far as you are concerned?
Adam Minoprio: I think the whole thing is going to be a challenge. Every aspect of the project will be a challenge on itself although I can't single out any in particular. Nevertheless, it's challenge I look forward to taking on. I will be one of the drivers and trimmers of the boat and the basic principles of what a boat go fast or slow are the same. I have helmed Maximus when she was on the water and it's not that different. The main difference I see from the smaller boats is that on big boats things happen slower.

Adam Minoprio calls tactics for Michelle Perris. Calpe, 30 April 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing

Valencia Sailing: What is the schedule for you personally and the Volvo Ocean Race project for 2010?
Adam Minoprio: This year my focus will entirely be on the World Match Racing Tour. The Volvo Ocean Race boat is still being designed and we will not do any sailing in that aspect. The America's Cup is still unannounced, so it will be all about the WMRT and the world title we have to defend.

Valencia Sailing: Don't you think this will put Team New Zealand in a disadvantage against its main competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race? Groupama, Telefonica and Puma are already training with boats from the previous edition. They will almost be a year ahead of you.
Adam Minoprio: Not necessarily, because you are only allowed to build one boat this time, so we will all have the new boats out roughly at the same time. In that aspect they are not training on a new boat in order to improve the design of the second new boat, they are just doing crew training. They will only get a little advantage. The Team New Zealand design team is one of the best in the world and are certainly doing a fantastic job while, in addition, they are currently recruiting the best VOR sailors in the world. We will be an awesome team with a very well-designed boat, so we will be extremely competitive. We will have enough time to do the required training before the race.

Valencia Sailing: Will any other member of BlackMatch Racing Team be part of Team New Zealand?
Adam Minoprio: I hope so but it's not up to me. I don't take those decisions, I'm just a sailor and most probably I'll be the youngest one onboard, doing the work the youngest guy onboard is supposed to do. Still, the Under-30 rule is definitely a very good idea that gives young sailors a great opportunity to advance in the sport and it will be good for the America's Cup to also implement it.

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