Tuesday 10th July 2012 : When I did my first Volvo Ocean Race (then Whitbread ) I remember sailing up the Solent waterway and Grant Dalton saying "Soak it up boys, there isn't anything that finishes quite as abruptly as the Whitbread Race". Sure enough I have always remembered that. The final InPort Race on Saturday 7th July in Galway may well be the last time we ever sail together as a team, and the final prizegiving possibly the last time we are all together as a whole team, so there we are, Team Sanya's Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 is done and dusted.

I, for one, am extremely proud of what we achieved as a team. No, we didn't achieve the few podium positions that we had hoped for, but we did have some huge successes, we led the fleet on numerous occasions, we won the Auckland Pro-Am race day and we led the fleet proudly out of Auckland. We put together a great team of people – always positive and upbeat despite the many challenges we faced – and we presented a professional and widely admired image to the outside world.

Never in our wildest dreams when we decided to do this did we ever think we would have to face the challenges we had, but then we have spoken enough about those and don't need to go there again…..

Now is a time for thanks, I am not going to pretend to get this in the right order so I will just try and not forget too many…

Firstly to our wonderful team, I believe we had the happiest, friendliest, most helpful team in the race, let alone committed and skilled…. It is without doubt one of the very best teams that I have been a part of and I thank you all so much for the part you all played. To every single one of you I sincerely hope we get to work together again in the future.

To our sponsors, again just a wonderful group, I am sure that most people assume that dealing with such a large organisation as the Chinese Government would be tricky!!, but what was agreed they stuck too, and that is all that we can ask. They asked great questions when they felt they were deserved which just proved to me how closely they were following the race and I really do hope we can continue the relationship and help further grow sailing and the Volvo Ocean Race in particular in China.

Then to Discover Ireland, Helly Hansen and Maersk Line – a big thank you, without any one of you the campaign wouldn't have been what it was. You all brought your own skills and expertise to the team and really were a part of it all. again I really do hope that we can continue working together in the future.

Then to all our Key Suppliers, you know who you are and so I won't go into it all here, for sure you all gave us at Team Sanya just a little something extra, again with you all I would love to continue our relationship in future campaigns.

I do have to make a special mention to the people at Doyle Sails in New Zealand. I know I am a little biased, but I have to say that the sails were fantastic, our little operation took on the world and in many people's opinion kicked their asses, the sails where lighter, more stable and we had no failures that weren't inflicted by us!!! Congratulations guys….. awesome…

Last but by no means least, to the families, again the Team Sanya Families were just the greatest bunch, always a pleasure to deal with, low fuss and our greatest supporters…. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you….

So where to now, well I have a busy year sailing, first regatta starts this weekend on the new Bella Mente, then Leopard, Living Doll, then back to Leopard and Bella Mente…. all fantastic opportunities and great programmes.

But the big one is that I have decided to come back and try my very hardest to have a team in the next edition of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race that has the very best chance of winning….!! so it is full steam ahead with that.

Thank you for all your wonderful support over the last twelve months, I will be doing regular updates on www.mike-sanderson.com so please check in there every now and then for an update.

Until we meet again, THANK YOU and for just one last time….



SOURCE: bymnews.com

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