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Volvo Ocean Race: Soon, Soon…

September 19, 2005

The action is starting to pick up, with 47 days to go to the start. Check out the Volvo website and get your ass updated. The newest wrinkle is the appearance of Paul Cayard’s Black Pearl. Haaar! Cayard and his crew have been out all week taking their new boat through her paces, and Cayard has been practicing his report writing. Some excerpts:

My first impressions of this boat is that it s much more powerful that the VO60’s were. It is a bit daunting actually. It will take some good sail handling techniques to keep the manoeuvres safe and efficient during the race…

The weather routing we did yesterday worked out perfectly. We rode some nice south westerlies up to the north west side of Ireland yesterday and this morning. The wind slowly turned from south to west over four hours this morning. Then the wind direction went from west to north in two minutes when the front passed us. It happened so fast that all we did was turn the boat 90 degrees and nothing had to be adjusted.

Soon after the front passed we set the kite (spinnaker) and sent it.

Thirty knots of boatspeed for the Pearl in 27 knots of wind. These boats are weapons!

Still rippin’ it up. We did 480 miles on the Pearl in the past 24 hours
and believe me we are trying not to go too fast. She is capable of leaping
small buildings if you are not careful and the landings are a bit brutal.
She is not a ballerina, more of a belly flopper. Not going to be a
comfortable rid around the world. The 60’s were less violent that this
baby. Awesome machine through.

We have had the full fire hose conditions most of today and in side it
feels like you are getting dragged down a cobble stone street in a 55
gallon drum. All pretty similar to my other experiences. One difference is
the constant speed. We are definitely going to get their quicker. The boat
is very easily driven and won’t need much sail area…

If you want a sense of how wet and fast these machines will be, just check out these Jon Nash pictures of ABN Amro.

Ericsson looks fast, too. Here’s a couple from Rick Tomlinson:

And here’s the headsail they’ll all be looking over their shoulder for:

“I can’t believe I have to look at this ugly-ass thing for the next 30,000 miles…”

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