Monday, September 1, 2008

a good chance of breaking 500...

I was laying in my bunk here on PUMA's il mostro wondering what all Volvo skippers must be wondering but afraid to ask out loud. Is our boat fast enough? Is it strong enough? Will it go the distance?

The crazy thing is that 7 of these Volvo 70's have been built in the last year and nobody knows the answer. It's like opening day of the baseball season. All teams have great hopes of winning the pennant and reaping the rewards. Fact is nobody really knows what their team is going to be like over the long haul. This race is exactly like opening day. As the last skipper to join the blogging fray, it has been fascinating to read the upbeat reports from all the teams on how great the boats are and how their programs are gelling. Why wouldn't they be optimistic? All is rosy when none of us have ever lost a race against another Volvo 70!

But the simple fact is we are all fibbing in a way. We don't know what this race has in store for us. Well, maybe Ericsson knows because they had the distinct luxury and foresight of purchasing the winner of the last race and testing their new boats against it. As for the rest of us, we can only guess. And am I willing jump in and say we have the be all/end all boat of the century? Absolutely not! We like our boat, but fact is we won't know anything until the gun goes in the beginning of October.

I think that unanswered question brings quite a fascination to this race in a way. Even the America's Cup now tests against all other teams prior to the Cup being held (that is when the America's Cup is actually being held). Even most of the open 60's have sailed against each other in one form or another prior to their big events, but the Volvo Ocean Race is the only race that I can think of which allows you to make a class of boat specifically for one event.

Amazing actually. For the Volvo we will literally show up, shake the hands of our competitors, probably have a beer or two with them and wish them good luck and be safe and we're off! With absolutely no idea if we have a fast or slow horse to get around the track. Unreal.

Sorry, I digressed, now onto the boat. We are tearing across the pond. Working on a 500 mile 24 hour run (stands at 465 right now but I think we have a good chance of breaking 500). This is cool simply because it really hasn't blown very hard, nothing over 25 knots over the last couple days. The wind on average is mostly around 20. By far the best part of my day was going on deck and stirring up a very interesting political debate between Jonathan McKee (Obama supporter) and Jerry Kirby (McCain supporter). I kind of rode the fence enough to get the two of them jabbing pretty good. Although Jerry's intellect far exceeds expectations when you first meet him, I have to give the nod to Jonathan. He must have spent time on the Yale debate team while planning on winning multiple Olympic sailing medals. Not that he is a screaming liberal, and not that Jerry is just to the right of Attila the Hun--it was just very interesting to hear their views while ripping down waves in the middle of the Atlantic in the mid 20 knot range. Ah, life aboard il mostro.

Sorry this has become so verbose but I have just had a great hour of driving and am in a terrific mood, listening to my ipod which my daughter Tory has figured a way to stuff full of teeny bopper tunes. Oh well, reminds me of my great kid.

All's good aboard il mostro.