Dalts second, Neal third

Comments from the silver and bronze skippers at the conclusion of the Volvo's sixth leg

Thursday April 18th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic

A rather pensive Grant Dalton

After a couple of bad legs, it is was an immensely relieved Grant Dalton who arrived at the dock in Baltimore. His Amer Sports One had taken over the lead twice in the closing stages, but they had narrowly been pipped at the post by Fanstone and News Corp.

"We're just relieved, or I am, certainly, to get back in there," commented Dalton. "Coming in to Rio we were second and lost it right at the end, and then into Miami we just didn't do very well. So to get back and get competing I think is very important. Congratulations to News Corp and Jez, they sailed a very good leg and we were ahead of them twice today and they basically took us out. We were busy watching Assa Abloy and illbruck too carefully! It's getting pretty busy at the top now, but it is certainly competitive, and we are just pleased to be here and have a good lead, as we sailed really well."

Following his disappointing previous two legs, Dalton had said that he felt his Frers-designed Volvo Ocean 60 was slow. Yesterday in his email from on board Assa Abloy, navigator Mark Rudiger utterly refuted this. Dalton says that despite having what appears to be the boat with the greatest wetted surface area, Amer One is fast in the light.

"Well I think Mani (Frers) might have mixed up his drawings with this boat and given us a Lake Garda boat because it goes really fast in smooth water," he commented. "In fact we were bullet fast last night and sailed straight over the top of illbruck and had the wind not died out and got flukey, we would have got over the top of News Corp. He has given us a smooth water boat for an ocean race. We were going all right. We took quite a lot of chances with this leg; we took no sails - the boat likes being on a diet!"

Aside from the weight issue Dalton praised his shoreside router Roger 'Clouds' Badham and gave someinsight into the tactics for the leg. "We had a really good forecast - Clouds did a really good job with this leg and I think you will find that the top four boats in here basically went the same way and it was a call based on not just the Gulf Stream but also the thunderstorms. We had to stay on the eastern side of the thunderstorms because they were bad, even though there was more current inside; we were monitoring them more than anything. That was a perfect call".

Dalts also praised his afterguard for keeping their heads in the tense final hours of the race. "In the end it was just impossible to predict because at one stage, illbruck was ahead and we were fourth, and at one stage we went from about first fourth in an hour and Assa Abloy was all over us and it all started up again and News Corp broke left and I always felt this boat would perform well in the tight stuff because of our afterguard.

"Dee, Roger, Bouwe and Chris Nicholson and those guys did a really good job and we just stayed really cool. In past campaigns that I've had, when it gets tight like that, we just fall to pieces because we haven't had the strength in the afterguard and I think, as we did in the Sydney Hobart, we've performed well".

Dalts also had a few comments to make about the start in Miami when six boats, including Amer Sports One were declared OCS. "We certainly don't believe we were over because we were obscured. I could quite easily sight the line from where I was on the boat, but we discussed on the motor in whether we would go for redress because we think that we can prove, from witnesses, that we were not over the line, but we don't believer we would gain enough time to take out News Corp, so we won’t pursue it. We could prove the point, but I've been there and played that game before, but I don't think we were over, in fact I have no doubt that we weren't over".

See Neal McDonald's comments on page 2...

Amer One ghosts down the Chesapeake

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