Thursday, April 19, 2012

Falcone Set To Spice Up Mar Mostro - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Antigua's Shannon Falcone, who did his first Transat when he was three years old, will join the crew of PUMA's Mar Mostro for Leg 6, as a temporary replacement for the injured Casey Smith.
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
In a second crew change, Kelvin Harrap returns from injury to reclaim his place from Thomas Johanson, as expected.

Falcone sailed with PUMA in the last edition and is preparing to race in the 34th America's Cup. We caught up with him as he looked forward to joining the Leg 5 winners on the run from Itajaí in Brazil to Miami, and passing close to his home.

How did you find out you'd be joining the PUMA team?

"Funnily enough I got an email a few weeks ago, subject line: Get your boots ready. That was when Casey went down that first night leaving Auckland. So all throughout this leg I'd been aware the call could happen.

"Casey has been a key player to the team and I know it was a difficult decision for him and the call could not have been made until he's finished the leg and got off and flown back to the States and checked in with his doctors and had someone really look into what happened.

"It's something I knew would happen before the race as Kenny told me I would be the go-to plan if somebody got injured. I would never wish anyone to get injured. On the other hand I just hope I can step into some really big shoes because the guys sailed an awesome last leg. Hope we can follow it on this next leg. For me it's a more exciting leg because it is a little warmer and it goes past home. Should be fun."

What have you been working on before this?

"I'm with ORACLE Racing for the 34th America's Cup so now we're getting up to crunch time for launching the 72 in San Francisco this summer. Literally it's pure luck and timing the Volvo ends before we launch the big boat. I can't really complain going from 30 knots on a catamaran in San Francisco Bay to go 30 knots in the Atlantic Ocean in a Volvo Open 70. The only difference here is that I can't go back to a warm shower at the end of the day."

Do you have a preference between ocean racing and inshore?

"Growing up sailing the thing that attracted me to the Volvo was the fact that when we were in the Cup in monohulls the roles became so specialised in what we did, whereas in the the Volvo you get to do a bit of everything. In the Cup I was just the Mastman. I would never take the helm in the Cup but in the Volvo you get the opportunity."

What do you do outside sailing?

"I've been paddle boarding over the winter. I was meant to be competing in the my first event this weekend in the Caribbean. I've been training towards it on the Puma Laird board back home in Antigua and getting some really good downwinders on it and was really psyched up on it. That will just have to hold of and i'll do some paddle boarding here in Itajai. That and kiting, all water sports really."

How did you get into racing?

"I actually did a transatlantic race when I was three years old. My memory is that I was annoying everyone by trying to jump overboard all the time. It was from Casablanca to Pointe-à-Pitre on my Dad's 44-footer 'Caccia alla Volpe'. We did really good. I remember the trophy was really big and I was on my dad's shoulders when we won in Guadalupe. We got Podium in our class. That was in 1984 in the Transat des Alizées from Morocco to Guadalupe. Now to this."

Volvo Ocean Race Media

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