New Zealand ocean racer Daryl Wislang has an exceptional track record over the last four editions of the Volvo Ocean Race. He followed up his third place in 2008-09 on Telefonica Blue with a second place in 2011-12 on Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand and then back to back wins in 2014-15 and 2017-18 aboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Dongfeng Race Team respectively.
Justin (left) spoke to him recently from Sydney, Australia (where he was about to begin a week of training aboard the 100-footer Comanche in preparation for the upcoming Sydney Hobart Race) to quiz him about the last Volvo Ocean Race, the introduction of IMOCA 60 for the next edition, and rumours of him staging a Kiwi around-the-world campaign in 2021.
Q. What have you been up to in the four months since the race finished?
Daryl Wislang: It’s been a pretty hectic time since the end of the race and I haven’t really had much of a chance to sit back and reflect on the fact that we won the race. After we – my wife Jess and our two children – left The Hague we headed to Spain to a nice little place on the Costa Brava called Llafranc where some friends live.
We had a bit of family time there with my brother and other family members. I guess that was the time to wind down from winning the Volvo and to try to get back into a more “normal” life. My priority since the race finished was to spend plenty of time with my family so we also had a three week break in Bali together – which was truly amazing.
But once we were back in New Zealand I think I managed to spend about three days at home before heading to Australia for the start of the Comanche campaign for the 2018 Sydney to Hobart Race. That’s meant a lot of backwards and forwards from New Zealand to Australia – where I’m speaking to you right now as we are having a week of training. I also managed to fit in the Maxi Worlds and St. Tropez on the Wally 100 Galatea.
So all in all it’s been pretty busy!
Daryl Wislang. Credit: Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Q. How difficult is it to re-enter normal life after finishing an eight-month race around the world? Do you find it hard to get back into a regular sleeping pattern?
Daryl: It is tough – I call it “the reintegration into society”. The sleeping isn’t too bad when you have two young kids. They wake up fairly frequently so you have got no problem with dealing with a broken sleep pattern, that just continues.
But certainly if you are thrust into an environment with a lot of people it can be difficult and quite overwhelming at times. Obviously everyone wants to congratulate you on what you have done and to talk to you about what you have experienced. Sometimes that can be more draining than doing the actual race.
I’m always aware that these are people who have supported me the whole time in everything that I’ve done, so you have to put the time in with them. It’s a small effort on your behalf to make sure that you are giving something back to those people by answering their questions.