“The next legs, especially the Transatlantic, are going to be fun and full of action which will be tough, but I enjoy this type of sailing..it’s all getting very close and I think these legs anyone can win so it’s going to be exciting”

We caught up with Sophie Ciszek, Bow person on Mapfre in the Volvo Ocean Race, during her break from racing in Leg 8.

You have taken a break from racing for Leg 8, what was the reason for that?

I have had an ongoing injury to my elbow. It started a few legs ago, 10 days before we headed out into the Southern Ocean. I had surgery on my left elbow in Melbourne, I went into the leg feeling pretty good but definitely not 100%. Throughout the leg it didn’t get the sufficient rest it needed to recover.  The team, my doctor and I made the decision to take this leg off so that from Newport I would be ready to go, to put in and push hard for the last 3 legs of the race. It’s going to be tough and a fight if we still want to win the Volvo Ocean Race.

Can you describe the feeling of being on the sideline due to injury and how you cope with the mental challenge of ‘missing out’ and how to stay positive?

Yeah, missing a leg of the race is the last thing I ever wanted to do, as soon as the gun went and they were off on the start it definitely felt weird not to be with them, especially as i’d never been on the sideline since joining Mapfre. It’s a mind game really but I just had to remind myself why I was sitting out, focus on that and on the positive things and make sure I’m ready for when I do get to be back onboard. It also is a good opportunity to focus on eating good food, training physically in the gym and cross training in other sports that are fun to mix it up a bit. Also getting good sleep in a dry warm cosy bed! haha!!

Have you been glued to the tracker?

I have definitely been glued to the tracker but when your team is struggling it is also hard to watch! Sometimes you just wish you could send them some more wind, or a lucky cloud. It’s been good to see the race from the outside see how other teams sail, what they do tactically, also looking at all the photos and videos. If only I was more of a computer nerd I would probably spend most my day on the tracker but I love being outdoors too much, although I will admit I checked it in the night when I was up!

What are you most looking forward to in the remaining legs of the Race?

The next legs, especially the Transatlantic, are going to be fun and full of action which will be tough, but I enjoy this type of sailing and I want to help my team fight our way back into the lead if possible. It’s all getting very close and I think these legs anyone can win so it’s going to be exciting. Also the long legs are over so it’s just put our heads down and fight for everything we have left until the finish. Also, the Transatlantic hopefully means we will have some fast fun sailing which is always great.

I can’t wait to get back out there!

Photos by Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race

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