Muscat: After six years competing in EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour, Team Averda skipper Marcel Herrera has come up with a secret weapon that he believes might prove the difference between winning and coming second. Performance food.
Twice now, Herrera, an insurance claims handler from Plymouth in the U.K., has campaigned his young team of aspiring professional sailors to the runners-up spot and in 2016, when they started with a bang, winning the opening leg it looked like they might go one better and finally nail the win.
But as the 760nm race went by, their stamina started to flag and although a sixth place in the last leg secured them a podium place it was not the one they wanted. This year, they have made stamina their number one priority in order to maintain a 100 percent work rate right to the finish.
There will be no professional navigator on Team Averda in 2017 but there will be bags full of pre-prepared nutritious meals together with a carefully thought out schedule of eating and sleeping. It will mean tip top vigour and endurance, says Herrera and give them their best chance of converting second and third places into wins.
“We are a young team with a lot of offshore experience so if we can get the balance right between the amount of calories we take in and the energy we burn, we should be able to push harder for longer and that could make all the difference.
“So that is why we have taken all the catering into our hands and will make our own arrangements with the navigation software with our own kit. We would love Averda to win and believe we are in with a very good chance.”
Sponsored once again by Averda, the largest integrated waste management service provider in the MENA region, Herrera has put together a formidable team of amateur sailors who are talented enough to earn crew spots on some of the fastest boats on the planet such as the MOD70s Team Concise and Phaedo among others.
Andrew ‘Hammy’ Baker and Robin Elsey are both graduates of Britain’s Artemis Offshore Academy with Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro campaigns in 2015 and 2016 in their lockers while Hugh Brayshaw is a member of their current squad.
Liam Gardner was a member of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s triumphant shore crew in the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race, Irish solo sailor Dave Kenefick was Irish Sailor of the Year in 2013 and Ed Davison, part of Alex Thomson’s shore crew and a graduate of the British Keelboat Academy.
Ollie Mellor has an additional responsibility since he has been put in charge of all the team’s media equipment including the team drone, which they hope will capture the magic of the Straits of Hormuz to share with others in the sailing community who have not been lucky enough to have raced there.
“For us, this is a big part of why we do SATT,” said Herrera.
“We get to see some amazing places and some extraordinary sights. The schedule is pretty demanding but there is a real incentive to finish first in each leg because you then get to spend more time in the stopovers.
“So, if things go well for us, we could end up Go Karting in Doha, skiing in Dubai or lying on a beach at any of these places. That sounds like a lot of fun.”