To understand how much of an achievement this victory is to us as a team, we have to go back in time… It basically all started after the Fastnet Race 2011 in Southampton. Jens met Jason Ker and Simon Schofield of Ker Yacht Design and decided to take the Varuna project a step further and to build a 50footer which would be capable of winning international events.
The current Varuna got launched in May 2012 and we started to tick of a list of international events Jens had on his bucket list.
We had to abandon our first race after the launch of the new boat due to a breakage. That was a huge disappointment but we kept going. A couple of times we came close to win but never managed to win one of the big events. We had a couple of podium finishes, but were missing the big overall victory. Although the press and public started to doubt the potential of the boat, we always new that we just needed more time with the boat and the right conditions to win.
One of the biggest achievements was certainly the IRC1 class win in the Hobart. We managed to win against an international top class fleet packed with 50-footers. On our way there we realized that it is very hard to race a 50foot racing machine on international top level. The competition is full of pro sailing teams which spend even more time sailing than we do. You always have to keep in mind that we are a team with an amateur base and with an amateur owner driver. We have two pro sailors, usually a trimmer and navigator and the boat captain on board. The majority of the team are guys in their twenties, students, young professionals and a couple of guys who work in the marine industry. Certainly we are not the kind of amateur team that does a few club races here and there, we try to run the whole project as professional as possible and feel very privileged to have an owner who is really keen to support that and gives us a lot of freedom by doing that.
…now we are back in south England with an overall win in the Round Britain and Ireland Race. Back there where it all started, it was not easy to get here… not at all. Especially the first days of this race were pretty hard on the men and machine. But as a team we fought our way through and finally got the reward for it.
We are proud that we finally managed to win overall. The key to this win is a bit of luck with the weather conditions, but mostly it is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication in preparing and developing the boat and the team.
Our mission is not over yet, there are still some unticked events on the list, winning or not, the journey is the reward…