Ñeti is preparing his fourth Volvo Ocean Race. Loyal to Telefonica and Mapfre teams, he wishes to finish the business and win the crewed around the world race.
Do you remember the first time you jumped onboard? Ñeti Cuervas-Mons: Perfectly, I was a kid. It was in the Ribadeo’s estuary (Galicia, Spain) with my grandfather in a traditional wooden sailboat. There was a good fleet and we also did some races. My grandpa gave me an itch for sailing and regattas.
How do you go from monotypes and inshore races to offshore ones? Ñeti: I sailed for several years in TP52 Bribón, Bouwe Bekking was the tactician and also the Sport Manager of Telefónica team for the Volvo Ocean Race. I was 24 years old and Bouwe gave me the chance to be tested on the VOR 70 and I stayed with them.
Did the “Under 30” rule make it easier for you to enter the Volvo Ocean Race? Ñeti: Without doubt for others and me. Some “Under 30” that entered in the 2008-09 edition were hooked ourselves to the oceanic sailing and here we still. This rule is a very good opportunity for young people; it eases the entrance with an unusual age. The stage through the Volvo Ocean Race has also helped us to sail also on big boats.
What pros and cons have monotyped VO65 vs. protos VO70? Ñeti: The monotypes have made possible to race with cheaper budgets. They have also leveled the chances of small and large teams. Now starting the project on the last call does not penalize as much as before. The negative point that has the monotype is that it has lost the technological development that existed previously. For the sailors was more interesting before, although I have to recognize that for fans and followers is more fun, because legs are more tight and exciting.
Would you like a multihull for the next Volvo? Ñeti: Well, not really because it seems a very dangerous option. The race would be more dangerous than it is now. When sailing a equalled fleet the boats are forced too much and I think that the multis would not stand, there would be many breaks and possibly personal injuries.
Do you like the new course of the Volvo? Ñeti: Absolutely. It is better for all of us as we expected more miles in the Big South, which is what we all want in this race. The previous leg to Abu Dhabi and the next one to China were martyrdom. Light wind, heat, pirates … Going up to Hong Kong is not ideal, but I understand it as is interesting for the sponsors.
The future of sailing competition is about foiling? Ñeti: Without any doubt, you can see the IMOCAs with foils and I feel envy. I think the next Volvo Ocean Race boat to be announced shortly (this interview took place on May 2) will be a monohull with foils. Foiling is the trend and everyone wants to foil. I have a Moth and I have a lot of fun.
Which of your finished regatta was the most satisfying for you? Ñeti: The Volvo 2011-12, we were very well prepared with Telefonica but it could not be. It’s an unfinished business and once again we will try to win it.
Tell us 3 races you did not race yet that you would like to do? Ñeti: Cape Town-Rio, Transpac and Newport-Bermuda
Are you skillful doing jobs onboard? Ñeti: I am not a super specialist but I pass the test with flying colours, on board I fix things well, I am one of the crew members in charge of the repairs.
Have you used DrSails? Ñeti: Yes I have used it several times successfully. Curiously two days ago we did a comparative test of products for repair sails. We use old sails to simulate the conditions of the race and we work on different types of breaks, and I must confess that the best one was DrSails. Really it works very well.