What happened to Tyco?
The Volvo Ocean Race is merciless. While there are winners, there must also be losers but it comes as some surprise to see Kevin Shoebridge's highly rated Tyco finishing in sixth place after slugging it out up the Chesapeake Bay against djuice and Lisa McDonald's Amer Sports Too.
"It has been a bad four days, right from the time when the start gun went and there was the start line incident, that was all wrapped up until the time we got here, every turn we have taken has turned out to be a bad one," commented Tyco's skipper, round the world race and America's Cup veteran Kevin Shoebridge.
"We weren't unhappy the next morning after the start - we'd worked ourselves back into a nice position, we were right to leeward of illbruck and Assa Abloy, where we wanted to be. We were positioned in the stream where we wanted to be, and life wasn’t too bad, and then the black cloud rolled through that everyone saw. We got stuck underneath it with SEB, torrential rain for two/three hours which didn't move, and that was fifteen miles lost. And if you get five miles behind you're history, and here we were fifteen miles behind on the first morning; and it sort of went from bad to worse, we got in these situations a few times - the boats in front would have breeze and we'd have nothing, and be flopping around".
A day out from the start Tyco and SEB were in contention to the west of the leaders and were literally stopped in their tracks. Rain clouds have had a lot to answer for on these last two legs. "Then we realised that the first four were gone and we were racing SEB, then another situation, in a cloud, came out of it looking great, went one way, and by the end of it SEB were twenty miles ahead. At that point, we just thought this is ridiculous and then the next thing to happen was these other guys to roll over the horizon, and we've had a full-on race with them for the last 36 hours".
After this it became a tough three way battle for sixth place. "Probably on five occasions last night we were stopped and they rolled up behind us," commented Shoebridge on his arrival in Baltimore. "We were all side by side, the girls were shining torches at us! So it's been terribly disappointing because we needed to do well on this leg".
In Miami both Grant Dalton and Neal McDonald identified that campaigns midway through a long race such as this either get better or worse - they rarely stay the same. While the rain clouds Tyco experienced on the way up to Baltimore undoubtedly demolished their chances on this leg, now in port the job for Shoebridge will be to pump some enthusiasm back into his demoralised crew.
"In the end we just thought this has gone beyond normality, and you just have to put your hands up in the end. I said to the guys, we're not even going to talk about this anymore. We'll come to work tomorrow and worry about La Rochelle, and forget this happened!"
Fortunately Shoebridge has every confidence in his men. "The guys are good, I could say I have to rally the troops and all those sort of things, but they're all good. Everyone knows what happened wasn't for anything in particular so no-one's bent out of shape about it. We did what we wanted to do, and went where we wanted to go navigation-wise, so we don't have a problem.
Tyco are currently lying fifth in the overall standings.
Frustation on board the Bermudan boat