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Foxall Recalls Barcelona Race

31st December 2010
Foxall Recalls Barcelona Race
In February 2008 Caherddaniel sailor Damian Foxall with Frenchman Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) crossed the finish line of the first ever Barcelona World RACE as winners onboard Paprec-Virbac 2. Now the Barcelona Race organisers have released an eve of race interview with Foxall.

The pair set an inaugural course record of 92 days, 9 hours, 49 minutes and 49 seconds over the round the world route, although the first edition of the race began earlier in the year – on November 11, 2007.

Foxall is currently immersed in another round-the-world project, as part of the Groupama team preparing for their entry in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race – his fourth participation in the race. With less than 24 hours to go until the start of the second edition, they asked him to cast his mind back to the Barcelona World RACE start:

What feelings do you have looking back at this pre-start period of the Barcelona World RACE?

"Like any oceanic race it's an accumulation of a huge amount of effort in terms of just getting the project to the startline. The race is quite often just the end part of what is quite a long process by the skippers to realise the boat's potential, along with the shore team and the designer and the sail designers. And to a certain extent for a lot of them they'll have had the resources and time to put a bit of the writing on the wall already, in other words to arrive with the very best boat and the very best possible team they can.

"Of course what happens over the next three months might end up telling a different story but most of the guys will hope they already have done what they can to have the best boat and the best possible outcome in the race."

What is your assessment of the fleet, who are your favourites to win?

"I think Jean Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron on Virbac-Paprec 3 are of course going to be one of the favourites, they've got various successes with the Transat Jacques Vabre together, and each have more and more. I certainly hope for the best and wish good things for them.

"It's actually quite an impressive line up with Michel Desjoyeaux and Foncia, and I'm sure that will be one of the main boats Jean-Pierre and Loick have to contend with. I think Groupe Bel will have a very, very good team as well, though they're possibly less well known to the general public outside of France.

"I'm not sure what stage Alex Thomson is at, but I think that was a very good pairing with Andrew Meikeljohn. I've sailed a lot with Andy and I'm sure whatever happens they would have had a good time.

"Jean-Pierre and I had been working towards doing it again when other projects came up, and I'm pretty sure if it wasn't for the Volvo Ocean Race I'd be there this time. So I'll be rooting for my home team and hope their new boat proves fast and reliable. I know they're both more than capable of delivering the goods."

Were there any favourite moments of the race for you when you'll be thinking about the skippers in this edition?

"The halfway mark is quite an experience. By that stage there's a certain amount of writing on the wall and you're hopefully well into your stride. Halfway round the world you've settled into a rhythm and you know what your boat is capable of, you know what the other boats are capable of and so I think it's a fairly significant moment. When you go through the Cook Strait and you look east into the Southern Ocean and you're halfway round the world that's quite a memorable mark of the course I guess.

"Obviously Cape Horn is a classic. But I think the biggest memory for me was coming back, the last stage into Barcelona and the contrast from three months at sea and coming back to modern life makes quite an impression, and especially so for us, winning the first edition. It's a great landmark for all of us to come back in."

Is there anything you took from the race you'd pass on to the skippers heading out tomorrow?

"It's a huge challenge and most of the skippers who are there have either been there before or have similar experience to myself so I'm not sure I'd pass on anything that the guys don't already know.

"But it's a long way, it's three months at sea, and unlike the Vendée Globe you're going to sea with somebody else, and it's not like the Volvo where you've got a larger group of people. You're going to sea with one other person and that's probably the most important aspect in terms of the race.

"On the one hand it's the biggest attribute you've got, your buddy, your co-skipper. And it's really important to make that relationship work well and to understand what they need, and to maintain a single objective in common that you both agree on and to basically cross the line having achieved that goal. For some it might be winning, for some it might be just finishing the race, but that common objective is probably the single most important thing that the skippers need to agree on before the start."

Published in Offshore
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