Sam Goodchild joins the Global Ocean Race
With two days remaining until the start of the Class40, double-handed Global Ocean Race 2011-12Leg 2 this Sunday in Cape Town, Conrad Colman has announced the recruitment of two fresh co-skippers for his Akilaria RC2 Class40, Cessna Citation. Artemis Offshore Academy winner, Figaro specialist and rising star of British solo and shorthanded sailing, Sam Goodchild, will race with Colman on the forthcoming Leg 2 from Cape Town to Wellington, New Zealand, and the highly-experienced South African racing skipper and watch captain, Adrian Kuttel, will join Colman in New Zealand for Leg 3 from Wellington to Punta del Este, Uruguay.
For Colman, finding a co-skipper for Leg 2 since Hugo Ramon left the project after Leg 1 has been a full-time occupation: “It’s great to have a co-skipper for this leg and especially one of Sam’s calibre,” said the 27 year-old Kiwi at the GOR Leg 1 prize giving on Thursday night. “It has been a hard slog since Hugo left the project and it’s great that Sam has got here in the nick of time,” he continues. With two days remaining until the Leg 2 start gun fires at 14:00 GMT on Sunday, Colman and Goodchild have only the fine details of boat preparation to complete. “The boat is in very good shape, the sails have been fixed and we’ve just got to throw the food on the boat and push off,” Colman confirms. “We only met a couple of hours ago and he hasn’t swung any punches yet, so it’s all good!” The combination of Colman’s Mini 6.50 background and Goodchild’s Figaro experience makes a formidable pairing: “With just two crew it’s impossible to split jobs,” Colman believes. “We both have different experience on the water and on land, so we’ve got a lot of knowledge and skills to bring together.”
Arriving in Cape Town late on Thursday afternoon, 21 year-old Goodchild is keen to get sailing. “I’m really looking forward to racing with Conrad and going to this mythical place, the Southern Ocean,” says the former 2008 Youth National Match Racing Champion. For the past two years, Goodchild has focused on intensive Figaro racing, training at the French offshore sailing school, CEM, before winning the Artemis Offshore Academy scholarship earlier this year. “The opportunity to race in the Southern Ocean doesn’t come along very often, so I am excited to see what it’s all about, and maybe next time I’ll be back in the solo, non-stop Vendée Globe!” he continues.
The past year has been a hectic schedule of single-handed Figaro racing for Goodchild taking 2nd in the Basse Normandie Race, 3rd in the Transmanche, 34th in the Solitaire du Figaro and 19th in the crewed La Tour de Bretagne. “I’m excited to sail with Conrad as he has a great racing background, slightly different to mine, but I think we can come together and make a great team,” adds Goodchild. Despite the focus on Figaro racing, he already has considerable Class40 experience. Most recently, Goodchild was co-skipper with Ned Collier-Wakefield on Class40 Concise 2 in the current Transat Jacques Vabre until the boat developed hull-cracks just as the duo took the lead in the Class40 fleet, forcing the British team to retire and head for the Azores.
Since Cessna Citation crossed the finish line in Cape Town taking fourth place 19 days ago, 40 year-old South African yachtsman, Adrian Kuttel, has been helping Conrad Colman with preparation for Leg 2 and with a background in shipbuilding, mast and rope making, his input has been invaluable. However, the former charter skipper, racing skipper and watch captain will have to wait until the Leg 3 start in Wellington on 29 January for a taste of offshore Class40 racing. For Kuttel, the GOR qualifying passage recently sailed with Colman out of Cape Town was an invaluable voyage: “The qualifier was intensely physical as we had a lot of breeze,” confirms Kuttel. “It was very exciting to get on the boat and actually do some sailing,” he continues. “I’ve been working towards this for years and it’s nice to finally get off the dock. It has finally started to become a reality.” The qualifier was an opportunity for Kuttel to familiarise himself with his co-skipper and Cessna Citation: “We got on really well, had a lot of laughs despite some very difficult conditions,” he says. “Class40s are very, very powerful boats,” says Kuttel. “It’s a boat with a sail area of a 50-footer put on a 40-foot boat with the sail-handling systems of a 30-footer. There’s a lot of sail and a lot of power and you need to be respectful of that,” he adds.
Kuttel’s offshore experience on Sir Irving Laidlaw’s Corby 49, Cape Fling, and breaking the Cape Town–Salvador race record on Mike Slade’s super maxi ICAP Leopard in 2009 has been part of a process leading towards a short-handed circumnavigation: “My intention was to do the complete race this time round,” explains Kuttel. “But like many of the teams here have found, it was really difficult to get the programme together, but I’m now in the game and keeping keen.” The South African sailor’s ultimate sailing goal is the 2013-14 Global Ocean Race: “Hopefully, this experience will give me the jump on the other teams for 2013 and enable us to do the event very competitively,” he reveals.
Shortly before the start of the GOR in September, Colman secured sponsorship funding from Cessna, manufacturer of some of the world’s most advanced aircraft, and Mark Blomfield – a keen yachtsmen and one of the company’s European distributors - has been supporting Colman and the Cessna Citation campaign closely: “We’re very pleased to have had the opportunity to sponsor and help a round-the-world yacht racing campaign,” says Blomfield. “It’s something quite new for Cessna and by the end of the race we’ll realise the benefits of this new kind of brand awareness.” Blomfield’s offshore racing background is extensive and he fully appreciates the conditions all the GOR teams will face: “We’re very glad that everyone got here to Cape Town in one piece and there’s an interesting Leg 2 coming up and I hope that everybody will remember that safety is paramount and all the teams reach Wellington in good shape,” he continues.
Blomfield also acknowledges that Colman is relatively new to Class40 racing: “I think Conrad is on a pretty big learning curve and some of the old salts in the race have an immense amount of experience,” he believes. “I think the GOR’s Team Option of changing skippers presents a little bit more of a challenge and it will take Conrad a little bit of time to acclimatise to new co-skippers,” Blomfield believes. “I realise that some of the teams where the crew have known each other for longer have an advantage,” he explains. “I think we have a very talented young man joining us for this leg and we have a very good person in Adrian Kuttel joining us for Leg 3, although it’s clear that people who know their boats well and know each other well have an advantage.”
Global Ocean Race crew list for Leg 2 (Cape Town-Wellington) and Leg 1 points:
1. BSL: Ross and Campbell Field (NZL/NZL) 35 points in GOR Leg 1
2. Campagne de France: Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron (FRA/GBR) 31 points in GOR Leg 1
3. Financial Crisis: Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon (ITA/ESP) 23 points in GOR Leg 1
4. Cessna Citation: Conrad Colman and Sam Goodchild(NZ/GBR) 19 points in GOR Leg 1
5. Phesheya-Racing: Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire (RSA/RSA) 12 points in GOR Leg 1
6. Sec. Hayai: Nico Budel and Frans Budel (NDL/NDL) 6 points in GOR Leg 1