Richard Kent on SAILMON and his Volvo days

What is your new role at SAILMON?
I have taken up the role as the Director of SAILMON’s Customer and Service Experience.
As a reasonably new company it is imperative that we can ensure all our customers receive and experience the best service possible when dealing with us. To let the dealers and public know that SAILMON will help you and through this you will continue using and supporting the company.

What can customers expect from you?
I have been in the industry for a long time, I have competed in multiple America’s cups and Volvo Ocean Race campaigns. In this time I have built a large knowledge base, about not only our SAILMON products, but all the products on the market. I have therefore seen what has been missing in the industry and I hope that I can help you through the use of SAILMON products to in the end have a better and more enjoyable sailing experience.

What was your role within the Volvo ocean race campaigns?
On each of the teams I have been a member of the shore crew, either being a member of or running the electronic installation teams. Tasks ranging from working on the system definitions, the center specification, working on or supervising the actual fittings on the boat and most importantly keeping it all working.

How does your experience and expertise support your current job at SAILMON?
In the past, I have worked with large teams. This made ensuring effective communication and interaction between the different departments critical to solve and deliver the correct result. This experience will hopefully help us be able to translate requests into data and a usable number that we will be able to learn from.

What is your own first experience with sailing?
My father introduced it to the family at a very young age, so I learned sailing very young. I think I was taken sailing in my carrycot as a family activity and I have been sailing dinghies and race yachts since then really.

Are you still sailing?
Not so much, work and a young family seems to be getting in the way at the moment. However, my oldest daughter has just started oppie sailing, so I have now turned into a oppie parent and the cycle starts again.

The 2017/18 edition of the Volvo ocean race is about to start, what does it take to optimize the boat to the max in the last couple of days before the race starts?
The last couple of days it was always those little jobs that you never got around to do. It is important just to keep calm, you have done your homework, you have done the diligence. The boat is ready to go.

What is your favourite Volvo memory?
Looking back at the two campaigns I was lucky enough to participate in I would have to the host cities. I think because the cities always put on a great show, it was always a spectacle and everyone was in a party mood. In regards to the finish here in Scheveningen, it should be a lot of fun weather permitting.

Are you still in contact with any of the current team members?
Yes, through social media I have been keeping in touch with some of them.

Who are your favourites?
I would not like to say, I genuinely think this race is going to be a close one. It is the second time around with these boats and a lot of the crew as well, so they know the boats very well, so it is really hard to call.

Who might be a surprise?
They are such closely matched boats that it could go any way, so I can’t really say.

Do you have any words of encouragement for anyone new to the race?
From the shore side, enjoy it! It is hard work, long hours and if it is not going your way you just need to tough it out. There is some good fun to be had out there and it is an incredible experience.

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