In this five-part mini-series, Rob Kothe speaks to the British sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race as they prepare to set off on Sunday 20 May from Newport, to the UK stopover in Cardiff. Second up is AkzoNobel’s Jules Salter.

Read Part 1 with Brunel’s Abby Ehler here.
Read Part 2 with Vestas 11 Hour Racing’s Simon Fisher here.

Isle of Wight sailor Julian (Jules) Salter, 49 is the navigator aboard Team AkzoNobel. He started sailing with the Gurnard Sailing Club on the Isle of Wight at age seven and he still lives and sails there today. He has a Masters in Nautical Law from the University of Southampton, was a very successful match racer, he won the Tour de France a Voile in 2000 and was the navigator for British America’s Cup campaign 2002.

This is Salter’s fourth Volvo Ocean Race circulation. He finished second overall in Portsmouth in 2005-2006, on Pirates of the Caribbean and then backed up with a win on Ericsson Racing in 2008-9 race. He then raced on Abu Dhabi in 2011-12 when they came fifth.

“It’s been an interesting race so far and this upcoming double points leg into Cardiff could decide the overall race podium places.

“Looking back, the finish into Auckland was special because we led for so much of the leg. I have done Cups in Auckland and lived in Auckland and my son was born in Auckland and he was there to see the finish and the family was all there for that. There has been some great sailing. Lots of different good memories.

“The approach to Newport was complex. I don’t mind the inshore ones because on balance so far, we seem to do ok. When it gets tied down we can pick up a place or two if it comes like that or manage to hold on if we have got a tight lead. Maybe this race has a few more than usual but I guess that is to be expected. You learn how to deal with the pressure of it and the intricacies of it and it’s the same for everyone.

“I am just looking forward to the race into the UK and the weather should be good which will get people out to see the boats and see the race and hopefully inspire some younger people to go offshore sailing.

“That’s what happened to me, I remember boats finishing day or night as they sailed passed my house, as I was lucky enough to live in the west of Solent, so you would always see them coming in.

“The finish up the Bristol channel could be a bit dramatic, especially this time of year. If there is a blocking high pressure system, it will come down to sea breezes I think. There is a heap of tide there as well so could throw up a few interesting things.

“Might be anchors on the fore peak and there is a fair bit of shallow water as well, so there is potential for quite a few gains in the channel if we get it right.

“I have got a few old tide books which I have had a look at and I have spoken to a few locals and we have got some good electronic modelling of the area which we get from the Deltares which is the Dutch semi-governmental organization which organises all of their flood defences and things like that amongst other things so they have got pretty good data on the whole of that area because it all impacts on their coast line, so it is within their region so they have got some good stuff for us to look at.

“The role of the navigator has become more critical with the one design. We used to have a lot of close racing before and there is more now. The performance side of it is big as we are trying to get them to go faster over time and keeping on the numbers is quite important.

“Looking further ahead, the next race will be an interesting and probably very different challenge. Teams that find their budget early will get ahead of the game.

“It is an all-encompassing decision which will impact on teams, how they structure themselves, where they base themselves, money they need, what boats they sail. It’s still an interesting puzzle to try and solve which you need a head start on, so I am sure people are thinking about where the race goes around the world, so it’s a good time for the race to be high profile in Britain as it will be in a few weeks’ time.”

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