On Wednesday 15th July, the Vestas Wind returned to Alicante after completing the final legs of the Volvo Ocean Race. Leaving Gothenburg on 29th June, the blue boat and Team Vestas Wind guests and crew members stopped off in Copenhagen and Amsterdam to visit sponsors, before sailing on to the Spanish home of the race where the boat will be maintained and stored.
After arriving back in the Mediterranean, Team Vestas Wind skipper Chris Nicholson spoke of the team’s journey, about how our comeback was made possible, and about future endeavours.
Here’s what Nico had to say…
So Nico, tell us what's happening now?
We've brought the boat back to Volvo Ocean Race HQ to be maintained and stored after the race.
We've had Trae, Peter, Simeon and Coxy on board with us. Tom Addis was with us for most of the trip too - we dropped him off in Portimao. We had two Vestas guests as well. It was a good time to actually kick back and relax a little bit, whilst getting the boat back here.
How does it feel to have completed what is potentially your last sail on that boat with this core group of guys - you've not quite been around the world with it...
We've certainly been around the bend with it! The last few days, it's funny, you actually don't even get to think about that too much, and it literally has been a race where we haven't had enough time to reflect and to think about things. That will happen for me in the next few days, or weeks, or months ahead.
At the moment, we're flat out trying to get the boat cleaned up and ready to come out of the water. That's the Volvo Ocean Race - it never seems to stop, and it's always at a pretty hectic pace.
Peter, Trae and I had some really interesting discussions on how you could make this boat go faster. We had some really cool conversations with that. If you decide to do the next race, these are the processes you go through. For the other teams, that was the work they did 18 months ago, but we never had that opportunity. It was amazing to think that we were doing it now. It was just nice to sail with the guys in a relaxed environment. We haven't had enough of that.
It must be a little bit weird being back in Alicante...
Walking into the office today, it feels like the race is starting again - but it's not, we're in Alicante cleaning the boat up. That's a bit strange. it's not sad, it's just part of it - everyone needs a bit of time off, it's a good time for us.
So what is next for the Team Vestas Wind crew?
At this point, everyone is going to turn to their families. Some of the guys are doing some racing at the moment. Normally, the teams tend to spread out pretty fast, but I have a feeling that this time we'll stay in touch with each other, so that'll be good.
My family is in France and we're getting a Benetau 45 - the plan is to sail back to Australia within the last nine months or so. I keep getting nervous talking about it as there's always something that will stop it happening. But that's the plan. It'll be something really new to me, commissioning a boat without an extremely tight schedule, and with the family. I'm really looking forward to that time.
Do you still have the appetite to come back and do another race?
Yeah, absolutely. That's been stronger since getting the boat back on the water. There's a hole there in the middle of the race for us, but since having time to appreciate the race more, for sure, that's my goal. I'm pretty certain that everyone within our team would love to do the race again.
It's been a hell of a story so far, any closing statements?
One of the big things that helped us back into the race was the support we had from Vestas. We looked forward to becoming a really popular team, and one way or another we generated a huge amount of support. That made a huge difference to us. From Team Vestas Wind, to everyone - and the amount of people who helped us is far larger than your usual Volvo Ocean Race campaign. It wouldn't have happened without them all.
Interview carried out by Jonathan Turner / Volvo Ocean Race