Volvo Ocean Race 10 days to go – Frostad on cultural change (Part I)

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Team SCA and Alvimedica ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race start.
Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race

Over the last year we have interviewed Knut Frostad, the CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race four times, at times the stress has shown but yesterday just eleven days before the start of the 2014-2015 Race, he was like a different person, when we met with him again, at Volvo Ocean race headquarters portside in Alicante.

In the distance across the port the Volvo Ocean Race boats including the Mapfre badged Spanish boat were still on the hard.

Upstairs overlooking the work area and the Race Control centre we talked to the very upbeat Frostad.

‘We have seven teams, a diverse group. I am super happy. You can always wish for more. You can wish for all kinds of things but I am very realistic about this and doing a Volvo Ocean Race project as the way we want it to be is no small task. It is never cheap. It is a big project. We are extremely happy, really happy and I think anyone who is out in the market right now for sponsorship whether it is the America’s Cup or Volvo Ocean Race or any other thing knows that this is a huge challenge. That is a good status to be in. I am super happy.

‘We are in good shape organisationally with. 11 days to go. It’s a complex project but we are on track. We are pretty good here in Alicante. Obviously we have one project for each of the cities as well. Each of the cities have their own planning program that we are running. Always some cities are ahead like Auckland. They are always normally best in class. Auckland and Gothenburg, those guys are super organised. Everything is planned for well in advance. Some of that Latin cultures don’t like to be that organised that early.

‘They would rather do things last minute and the same in China but in general we are in good shape.

‘The biggest concern I had was the whole shared services we are doing with the boats where they are sharing their maintenance programs.

‘That’s the first time it has been done as far as I know in sailing, that you actually share spare parts, toolings, people, resources across the whole fleet. The race used to be about everything but that. It used to be about secrecy, privacy, never sharing, and exclusivity.

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Headquarters of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Carmen Hidalgo-Volvo Ocean Race

‘That was what the race was about and now it is the complete opposite and the first test we have had here now in the last ten days because that is the first big service program with all the boats together. It has been fantastic. I have loved it.

‘I have walked every day past the boats and seeing how the guy who does the propellers service does one boat and then moves to the next boat and then the next boat. He makes sure they are all the same.

‘They all learn from whatever can be adjusted and calibrated and improved and it changes the mentality of the sport. I preach this a lot because I think this is the biggest game changer in sailing that we are producing.

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