Willy Garcia: Respect and Caution
In the strict sense of the words the Garcia brothers are amateur sailors. And so when it comes down to taking on the Barcelona World Race for the first time that means both Bruno and Willy need to take three months away from their full time jobs. Bruno is an interventionist cardiologist and Will has a jewellery business. Together and individually they have built up an impressive, diverse list of ocean racing successes in the Mini and the Figaro classes.
As might be expected the last months and weeks into the start have been manic, a very intense juggling act, keeping the boat and race preparations on track, fighting a very tight schedule, consolidating the requirements of their own demanding jobs to ensure their areas are not too affected while they are away. As well there is the desire to maintain a relatively normal domestic life, seeing family and continuing their domestic obligations.
In fact things have been so crazy recently that the duo are looking forwards to the start gun, when they will have just one thing to focus on doing well.
“When we are racing the time comes to focus on sailing, nothing else." Says Willy Garcia who at 42 is five years younger than his brother. Although he has done many thousands of racing miles, he refuses to compare himself to the professionals, the leading lights of the IMOCA circuit.
“Yes, he says, we are sailors,but we have never done such a long race”.
Presumably you are happy to be getting to the start of this prestigious round the world race?
" Getting to the start is, in itself, a victory for us. With so little time to prepare it is a bit crazy, but when we started off this project we did not really know if we would get to the start for sure. We had to prepare the boat and complete the qualification passage. So for the two of us, to even get to the start is like winning."
Bruno is giving it another go, trying to complete the around the world race after he retired last time when he raced with Jean Le Cam. Are you here because he persuaded you?
" The origin of the project, the idea, is clearly my brother’s. But the idea is infectious and so it grew on me more and more, and before long we were as enthusiastic as each other. But we have to recognise the efforts of our whole team. I think they are just as thrilled that we have all got so far together and everything has gone so well.
How have you been preparing for the race?
" For us it is hard to have been managing work and the race project. In truth in a campaign like this a professional sailor should be entirely devoted to the project. manage work and racing. A professional sailor can, and should, entirely devoted to the project. But we are amateurs with jobs we cannot simply drop. So we have been having to put in some long hours to prepare for the race, and to be able to be away for three months. And so when the race does begin it might almost feel like a rest. The time will have come to focus on racing and nothing but racing.
It can’t have been easy?
" It has been truly intense. But our team have made everything easier. We thank our technical team for their efforts. There have been hard times with a lot of work, but they are great. All in all they have made the whole project so much more bearable.
So I see you are really happy with your team.
" It is a great, professional team. Our boat manager Ruben Castells already worked with the boat as Estrella Damm in the last edition of the Barcelona World Race. And he really has been helping us a lot. He knows the boat perfectly and knows what we can do and what not. And the other people are also terrific. They're all great professionals.
What is your goal?
"For now our first goal was to be at the start and it seems we have already achieved that The second goal is to be at the finish, to make it round the world. If we can spring a surprise, then perfect. But we are clear what our role is. We have our feet on the on the ground. We are sailors, yes; but we have never done such a long race ... so we'll see what happens.
So it is sufficient to finish the race?
" I don’t think I’d care if we were last. I would like to look good and sail a good race. But our objective right now is to finish. This is a very long race and we want to finish it. Sometimes I make comparisons with long distance running, which I also practice, and I know you have to go be serene and quiet, just thinking of the present and not the length of the race.
Are you nervous?
" Not really, we are respectful of the task we are about to take on. We will sail through oceans and weathers we don’t know. Our families are happy enough that we seek to realise our dream but have some concerns. Two siblings, brothers together in an adventure like this might provoke a bit of excitement or worry. But we are calm. We also have some kind of shared feeling. We will go to places where I have never been before, we will discover new things together. Always, though, with respect and caution.