Where one man had not gone before

Published on August 14th, 2018

The 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race was notable in how how many offshore racing novices were amongst the crew. Among the newbies was Australian Kyle Langford whose success in the America’s Cup and other elite events always afforded him a warm bed at night.

Langford, who admits to having had no offshore sailing experience prior to signing up for the race with Team Brunel, shares his observations in this interview for Bremont:

What is it about sailing that you love?
Sailing brings non-stop challenges. There is no other sport in the world with so many variables, we are competing on a racetrack that is forever changing with the wind and waves and I really enjoy the challenge of having to constantly evolve your way of thinking as new technology is introduced and you develop the equipment to go faster.

As a former America’s Cup sailor how does the Volvo Ocean Race compare?
The Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup are similar in the sense that it’s simply a sailing race, the America’s Cup is Formula 1 and the Volvo is the Dakar Rally. The Volvo requires a lot more endurance and is a much tougher mental challenge.

You learn a lot about yourself whilst battling the most extreme weather conditions on earth with sleep deprivation whilst trying to maintain the motivation to push the boat as hard as you possibly can. They are both very challenging in their own right, but ultimately, you’re trying to sail faster than your competitors and have a steeper learning curve than them.

In terms of physical fitness are there big differences?
The America’s Cup is really a sprint race, the fitness training was based on high intensity training and it’s common to see people at their max heart rate when racing. The Volvo, however, requires a different training approach, which is more focused on core stability and trying to maintain muscle mass as we were spending up to 3 weeks at sea on an unstable platform.

What was the toughest leg of the journey for you and why?
Leg 2 from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa was the toughest leg for me. It took 20 days and was the longest time I had ever spent on a boat at that point. Everything was so new to me and I didn’t know what to expect.

Being relatively inexperienced at ocean racing meant I wasted energy at unnecessary times and was quite often cold and wet. We saw a large range of conditions on that leg which helped prepare me mentally and physically for the next leg through the Southern Ocean.

Complete interview… click here.

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