Mike Sanderson on the Volvo Ocean Race

Ian Roman Photography / Volvo Ocean Race
Sanya's skipper on their repairs, how the race has changed, which of the new boats he likes and much more
Given the carnage on the opening leg of this Volvo Ocean Race, combined with the shorter stopovers, it is a miracle all six boats are rearing to go for tomorrow’s Pro-Am, prior to Saturday’s Cape Town In-Port race and the start of leg two on Sunday to a preliminary destination unknown. For Mike Sanderson, skippering Sanya, the former Telefonica Blue and the only old generation boat in the race, this Volvo Ocean Race didn’t quite have the start he’d hoped for. A collision on the first night out of Alicante, saw Sanya nearly sink, but her crew managed to make port and the boat, like Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, was subsequently shipped to Cape Town. In South Africa, boatbuilders were assembled to knock up a new bow and have since been working in record time to fit it. “The boat came off on the ship only last Wednesday and we launched it yesterday,” recounts Sanderson. “We put the rig in the morning and went sailing this afternoon. So it was a pretty miraculous turn around. It just took a week - the guys did an awesome job.” They ended up cutting out a section of the underside of Sanya’s bow about 5m long by 3.5m wide by 1m high, so it was lucky that the boat builders had, using a male mould, had made the replacement section with an extra 1m all round. With the new underside of the bow fitted, Sanderson reckons they have probably gained only around 24kg due to additional taping and fairing. “In the old days that would have been a double hit, it would have come off the bulb, but now it doesn’t. They have a rule that if it is a mod of less than 35kg, it doesn’t require an instant reweigh. We were inside, which was