Volvo Ocean Race
Neal McDonald : " I hope to use my experience to ensure Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing wins this next race"
Monday 5 August 2013 –
“I am lucky enough to have raced round the world six times and I hope to use my experience to ensure Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing wins this next race. With any offshore race, the next one is full of many varied challenges, some of which will not even be obvious at the start of the campaign. The solutions to each will inevitably involve a series of complex compromises. Getting the right balance in each of these compromises will be a huge part of winning this next race. Particularly with a one design boat playing centre stage in the 2014-15 race, the biggest challenge will be to get the best out of the entire team at all the critical stages of the campaign. Getting the right personnel and planning the campaign properly from the start appear to be the most important parts to getting it right.
“After the last race it was clear to me that, at my stage in life, I was not going to do another Volvo campaign that involved me as a sailor in a manner that I had before. I had never given up on the possibility of getting involved in a more behind the scenes role. When Ian Walker started talking to me I was excited to hear more as I see Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing having a real chance of winning this race.”
“Taking part in my first Volvo Ocean Race campaign was a dream, now with a second chance at it, I want to make winning the reality. We are already so much further ahead in this campaign than before and I feel that I have learnt so much, yet have much more to prove. For us, winning the race is the only goal, so we can make everyone at home proud and continue inspiring the many young Arab sailors to reach for the stars, showing them that anything is possible with determination and hard work.”
“I think as a professional sailor with a wealth of experience across most of the major regattas, I bring a vast amount of knowledge to Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. I understand what sailors need and what makes a boat go fast. I also know how a team works and how it needs to be motivated.
“The biggest challenge for the shore team will be to make sure the boat doesn’t break down and the sailing team can push her hard and fast. With the new one design, this is going to be a big challenge. We haven’t seen a boat hit the water yet so I will need to learn all about how they will perform and then put together a team that can best support our sailing guys and who can work efficiently with Volvo Ocean Race to streamline our overall offering.”
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