Big ambitions: Mike Sanderson wants to become a double champion Photo: AP
Unlike all the other skippers whose goal is to win the race, Sanderson says he is unlikely to fail in meeting the objectives he has set for his team.
"We need to punch above our weight, get the boat on the podium two or three times and do well in the commercial race. All the other teams have one goal, which is to win the race so only one of them will achieve their goal and the rest will fail. We have different goals but we are the only other team that can achieve them.”
Achieving them will create opportunities for the next event in 2014 which will be his moment to focus on becoming only the second two times winner in the history of the race.
"I would not have done this race if I didn’t think I had one more race in me. There is no way this could have been my swan song.
"My aim is to convince China to do it again next time round. So we need to punch well above our weight and show that given all the tools we had in 05-06, we can win but given the hardship of coming in late and underfunded, we are still able to deliver commercially, look smart, be a slick operation and the people’s choice.
"If we can get something rolling from this race into the next having had a good campaign with some core people, we would be in pretty good shape.
Team Sanya budgets amount to about half of the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race campaigns but prospects of a win a good deal less than half.
"The new boats are obviously faster than the old boats. To use a Formula 1 comparison, we will need it to be raining. We need it to be mixed up then we have a good chance because like F1 racing, it is all about having good people. If it is a drag race, we won’t have a chance.”
So if it is not going to be Team Sanya, who will win this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race?
"The Volvo Ocean Race is about preparation and the smart decisions made from the outset. Normally, a week from the start, it becomes obvious who has prepared best and made those decisions but this time, it hasn’t and I’m really not sure who has done the best job.
"Winning will be down to the chemistry in the team. If a team is not tight, they will struggle when the pressure is on.
"One of the scary combinations that seems to have been understated is the Iker Martinez, Xabi Fernandez and Andrew Cape one on Telefonica. They have a lot of history.
"The same is true of Camper though personally I’m not sure about the structure they are running on board with the skipper Chris Nicholson and co-skipper Stu Bannatyne being watch captains. To me that makes no sense. If PUMA can have a couple of good legs, this race will be theirs to lose.”
His crew of ten is a mix of exciting young talent including his navigator Aksel Magdahl and David Swete, experienced old hands including Richard Mason, setting out on his fourth Volvo.
Unusually his watch captains Cameron Dunn and Chris Main have just one Volvo leg – or 43 days of racing – between them which gives the crew a development squad feel to it. Winning a leg will be a massive triumph.
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