ASSA take leg three

ASSA ABLOY win leg three of the Volvo Ocean Race

Friday January 4th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australasia


Disaster for djuice, who despite arriving in fourth position in Hobart, dropped to sixth place after a tactical error - leaving a gybe too late while crossing the Tasman Sea. They finished in Hobart at 23:16:49 GMT.

"It was upwind across the Tasman Sea and to make sure we arrived in one piece we decided not to take any risks," explained djuice's French navigator Jean-Yves Bernot. "From Hobart to Auckland I think we made some very bad tactical decisions, which didn’t work very well. On my side it didn't work very well, we made a game plan and we didn't follow it."

"We are disappointed," skipper Knut Frostad admitted on his arrival. "It was a hard leg for us. We started hard, we came well out of Sydney, but our halyard lock broke, we filled the boat up with water, and did all kinds of things. It was a struggle to Hobart."

Frostad believes that his Norwegian Dragons have a speed problem - jib reaching, but that was only one of a catalogue of problems. "We didn't sail very well, we were too exhausted as we sailed out of Hobart. We had the wrong watch system, we focussed on having too many people on deck in the first part of the leg I think. So we all felt a bit too tired. Maybe that was one of the reasons why we made a mistake."

Frostad feels that the problem lies with the sails more than the boat. "It depends on the wind angle. If it is tight jib reaching we have a problem, but it doesn't necessarily have to be the boat, it can be the sails and other things. But we are really fast in other conditions - spinnaker sailing we know we are very, very fast. But again we had a leg without any spinnakers in it."

While these problems undoubtedly exist, it seems there is a problem in the decision making process on board despite the presence this leg of Kiwi America's Cup veteran Erle Williams. "It was how we managed the race and used strategy and tactics. As usual there was a conflict between strategy and tactics because strategy wants to make some call and tactics want to play it safe."

One wonders how Frostad will solve this. Could it be that the much respected Bernot doesn't like making decisions by committee?

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