Ladies and gentlemen,
We are very pleased to welcome the winner of this extreme leg to Rio. Departing som 38 days ago from China, the winner crossed the finishing line early this morning.
Please welcome HedgeHog and her skipper Jan-Jakob -
Jan-Jakob talked to Sebastien Destremau as soon as he cleared the finishing line in Rio. This is what he had to say:
Hello Jan-Jakob and welcome to Rio. Firstly, you deserve the biggest congratulation for your victory in the grueling fifth leg of the Virtual Volvo Ocean Race. Winning against almost 200 000 competitors must be overwhelming. How is the boat? And the skipper? When did you start playing with us and what were your results in the previous legs?
The boat is ok, but needs thorough inspection by the shore team before the next leg, no boat is capable of doing more than 12.000 miles without some wear and tear.
The skipper is enjoying caiprinha in the harbor. Looking forward to meet-up with northstraightthroughthestrait on the beach and catch some well deserved sleep in a hammock.
I started to play right from the start in Alicante but missed the 'wind-window' at Gibraltar, trailing for most of the leg but making good progress in the southern ocean, learning a lot about the boat and navigation; finishing 1380. Second leg,I dug too deep into the southern ocean, never really able to make up for it, ending 5099. The third leg, the restart was favorable for me as I already messed up a bit. Keeping up with the front after the restart with my improved knowledge on navigation, eventually moving into first place about 12 hours before the finish at a favorable wind angle according to the games wind prediction ... but then ending up in a parking spot ... wondering why Ariadna and co chose the apparently less favorable route. Finished 104 and discovered Grib.us as an important source of information after the leg. Well equipped with weather prediction information, leg 4 started ugly in the first 24 hours parking up for 8 hours due to the changed polars, loosing valuable miles lacking internet connection at this crucial time. Found a nice western route to make up for some lost miles moving into 50th place before hitting an island on the Chinese coast dropping several places; finishing 124.
SD: From a race point of view - Are you happy with the way you have sailed ? Do you feel you’ve made some errors and what would they be? What was the toughest moment for you during this leg?
Everybody makes mistakes. Some wise person said, the winner will be the one that makes the least number of mistakes. Fiji was tough with favorable routes changing with every shed finally choosing the west side which was sub-optimal as clearly shown by powerof7's long lasting leading position after the eastern route. Following Mark Chisnell Ten Zulu report stating that the likelihood of a second favorable northern route was low I took this option some 6 hours too late while Toxinho and followers made some good progress on the leading pack. Finally, just before rounding the horn, about 20 miles behind powerof7 on third place I messed up with the programmable pilot enjoying a good night sleep losing more than 10 places and 50 miles. After that, the Atlantic ocean has been good and close to error free.
SD: How many hours a days are you spending on the game? Are you using outside sources of weather forecasts and which ones?
Too many, especially the last couple of days. Although part of it is observing the game unfold, winning and loosing precious miles after setting up the strategy. Like everybody else I use Grib.us. The seven day weather prediction is crucial to pick the long term strategy. Interesting still that quite different conclusions are drawn from that data by the different players.
SD: What are the main improvements you'd like to see in this game?
I think it is a great game and enjoy it a lot playing. Possible improvements are:
- being able to store messages send by other players
- auto sails that also work for the prosails.
- more than 1 programmable course change
- Being in front it is no problem finding closely competitors. Being behind this is more difficult. Boats can be closely in ranking but far away in distance. Boats in the proximity are useful in quantifying your performance
- Distances made good or lost are somewhat variable even if speed and angle are comparable. It would be nice if this was more precise.
-To make the game more realistic with the real race, one could consider to update the position of the other boats only every 3 hours. But this will probably be less fun.
SD: A little bit about you now: Your Age? Where do you live? What is your Profession? How’s the family/entourage feels about your involvement in this race?
I'm 37, living in Amsterdam the Netherlands. I'm a physicist, a background that probably helps to understand and solve the tasks a navigator is confronted with. As a kid I was intriged by the moves of underdog Brunel Sunergy in the Whitbread around the world race 1989/1990. Very nice to finally be a navigator on a winning boat, albeit a virtual one. The entourage gets progressively interested with my improved positions over the last couple of days.
SD: Are you a sailor? Casual or racer? And what is your sailing resume? Real and virtual?
I'm just a casual sailor, don't do it as often as I should. Sailing into a small harbor of a greek island at the end of the day is close to paradise. This is my first virtual sailing race though.
SD: Anything else you would like to add to wrap up this interview? An anecdote about what you might have experienced throughout this journey maybe? The relationship you might have with a player(s)?
First of all I would like to thank al the people that send me such nice and encouraging messages. Quite a few were already convinced I would win before I was confident enough to admit it. I tried to anwer al messages but probably have missed a few. I would like to thank snailfast for his help in setting up the right sail up north in the beginning saving precious miles, you deserved to do a little better this leg, and monalisa for sharing some interesting tactical discussions. I'm impressed by the steady progress of Lemalosaint over the last weeks. I guess this leg was just a bit too short for you to win it eventually. There are not many players I know in real life. The trajectory of Proost (cheers in dutch), however, shows that going to the bar together before setting the programmable pilot is a risky buisness. Fortunately, I was spared. Now its time to rest. Looking forward to race you all to Boston and beyond.
SD: Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us. As everyone knows you will receive a return trip to Boston to catch up on the Volvo Ocean Race atmosphere. Well done and enjoy your break in Rio