For Chris Nicholson, his Volvo Ocean Race is only just now finishing.
Nicholson, the six-time race veteran who served as watch captain on team AkzoNobel, has spent the summer running corporate sailing and hospitality with teammate Nicolai Sehested.
“We had some activation going on in The Hague, at Cowes Week, in Copenhagen, Lorient and now we're finally delivering the boat to The Boatyard in Lisbon,” Nicholson said last week from the Yacht Racing Forum in Lorient, France. “The level of response we’ve had since the end of the race has been fantastic.”
But finishing out the team hospitality programme has not been the only thing on their minds. A few weeks ago the pair announced their intention to put together a campaign for the next race.
“We’ve had some potential partners come sailing with us in the last weeks and months and at the moment, it’s just about communicating and keeping them updated as the next race takes shape,” Nicholson said. “We’re trying to build off the momentum of the last event and so far these last few months have been very, very positive.”
Nicholson notes the introduction of a new class, the IMOCA 60, adds a completely different element to the race.
“The IMOCA 60 is going to be a showcase, the ultimate of foiling monohulls offshore. That’s for a select group of sailors,” he said. “The VO65 lends itself to a broader range of sailors and provides fantastic racing. I think we’ve never seen as good racing as we had in the last race.
“The IMOCA 60 will definitely be different in many ways. It’s not going to be that same style of one-design racing where you feel like you have to fight at every moment because you can’t lose an inch. But instead you get the technology aspect where you’re pushing the limits of foiling offshore and that’s going to be great.”
For someone who’s competed in each race since 2001-02, Nicholson has seen the event through several changes but he says one thing remains the same – the scale of the challenge.
“What motivates me is that it is hard. It is a massive challenge. If it was easy, I wouldn’t be anywhere near it,” he said. “I enjoy problem solving and this race presents problems day in and day out. It’s just a fantastic part of our sport.
“I didn’t think I’d want to do anything apart from the Olympics until I did my first Volvo and since then I haven’t stopped!”