Volvo Ocean Race boats in the Rolex Fastnet Race

Ian Roman Photography / Volvo Ocean Race
Abu Dhabi's Ian Walker and Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson discuss their races
Three of the six Volvo 70s had their competitive debut in the Rolex Fastnet Race with the two new generation boats the Farr-designed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Ian Walker, lining up with Franck Cammas’ Groupama 4, one of the three Juan K-designed offerings for this autumn fully crewed round the world race. They were joined by Mike Sanderson’s fledgling team on their first outing outside of the Solent in their newly refitted Team Sanya, the former Telefonica Blue, followed her refit in Hamble. As reported the race was won, just, by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, with Groupama 4 finishing just four minutes 53 seconds astern, with Team Sanya just under an hour after the UAE entry. Abu Dhabi snuck ahead of Groupama 4 having cut the Lizard fine on the final approach to the Plymouth line after Franck Cammas' team had led from the Fastnet Rock. For Mike Sanderson this is his first time sailing a VO70 in anger since the ABN AMRO campaign folded after their world tour post 2005-6 Volvo Ocean Race. Since leaving TeamOrigin in the late spring last year he has been back home in his native New Zealand. Talking to Sanderson one gets the distinct impression Moose is back in his element... “It was great," he told us. "Our biggest fear in putting this campaign together was that we weren’t even going to be competitive in the race and what we have learned is that even in conditions which weren’t ideal for what we thought the boat’s strengths were going to be, we were there or thereabouts.” It should also be considered that Sanderson’s campaign is very 11th hour and their boat was only relaunched a week prior to the start. He is aware this puts him on the back foot: “Some of these teams have