Post Race Interview with Gavin Brady of the Invisible Hand Pac52. Invisible Hand is currently standing 1st in Class and 1st in ORR Overall in the 2017 Transpac Race.
Q: What was the most challenging part of the race for you?
A: The build up. The 3 days before the race. There was a lot going on, a lot of things had to come together quickly. There was one of those moments where if everybody achieved their goals, we knew that when we got to the start line on the same piece of water as our competitors we were going to have an edge.
Q: How much strategy was directed towards beating Bad Pak.
A: I think not a lot of strategy was put towards just Bad Pak, because we felt that each team would actually push each other harder. So if we were on the same piece of water, we've raced against them in 3 of the Pac52 series, we know their performance, we're sister ships so we've got the same boats, and the modes are the same. We knew what they had, and they know what we've got, so I think we felt that actually working with them was an asset, and then let the games play out in the Molokai Channel. So we were thinking it was going to come down to 3-4 miles in the last part of the race. We thought them being strong was an asset, we wanted them to be strong so they would push us. So to be honest, we did in the last 3 days probably leave a little on the table by being more defensive rather than attacking. We sort of jibed across and took some wind shifts that we normally wouldn't have just to basically let the clock run down and be safe so I think in some ways not having them close to us actually cost us some on our performance.
Q: Was it fun chasing the Rio100? At any point did you think you would catch them.
A: We never really focused on Rio at all, you know they're twice the size of us, they should have been two days ahead of us. We knew they were fast on one gybe, weak on the other. So it was a little like chasing the Bismark. Unless they lost another rudder they were always going to beat us. We felt that they weren't going to be competitive in the race for corrected time, so we never really took any notice of them. They were just that awkward amount ahead at a 100 miles in front of us so we couldn't really use them as a tool to push ourselves. We just figured if they lost another rudder, we were going to end up with 30 people on board because we were going to have to pick them all up. So good on them, obviously a lot of seamanship on their part to get their boat to the dock, but at that point they were just trying to finish the race and win the Barn Door. By the time they could get on the port gybe, then they stretched away on us. Manouch owns a Pac 52 so it would have been frustrating for him to see us catching him, but at the end of the day he's got a 100 footer.
Q: Any break downs?
A: No, breakdown wise we were in good shape. It comes down to preparation, we didn't carry a lot of backups, so that forced the team to make sure that we looked after our assets. We were lucky with Frank as our skipper, he really gave us all the tools we needed to win the race, no excuses. If we needed new equipment, we had new equipment. He said, 'ok boys, I'm not going to hold you back, but don't hold me back on the other hand'. So we didn't carry a lot of spare gear, but we carried good equipment and we looked after it really well. I think the only thing we broke was a spinnaker. We went down a wave and the bow of the boat went under water and the spinnaker exploded. But because of the the systems on board we knew exactly what to do with a broken spinnaker, we had the what-if scenarios, and a new spinnaker went up probably within 5 minutes and we were at full speed again. So our systems worked and we had a full fire drill, and that was the only thing that we broke. A bit of wear and tear on some gear. It's the great thing about a Pac 52, basically in 2 days time its going to sail itself back to the West Coast. And that's really what I think the Pac 52 Class is all about. It's about sustainability. Where you've got yachts that can actually sail themselves, not just through the Big Boat Series or the Pac 52 series, but they can go ocean racing and then actually sail themselves back home. And that to me is sustainability, and that's what the sport needs. Not one trick pony's that need to live on trucks and ships, and are one-off boats. I can categorically say that this won't be the last Transpac race that this boat wins. It might not be in our hands, but in 15 years time you'll see this boat come to Hawaii and you'll see it sailing home, and I think that's really cool.
Thanks to Robbie Gabriel of the Invisible Hand Racing Team for providing this post-race interview with Gavin