Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Good Times On Puma Ocean Racing

As our fearless Watch Captain Sidney Gavignet once told me, there are very few high level boats being sailed without Kiwis onboard. He should know as he won this race with a boat full of them in the Volvo 2005-2006. For those of you not akin to the sailing slang, a Kiwi is a New Zealander. I have to agree that it seems they grow great sailors on trees down there. Fortunately, we have two if the most solid Kiwis I know onboard. Justin Ferris and Rob Salthouse. Instead of telling you how great they are at sailing I thought I should give you a quick insight to who they are as people. Sure they are both solid as-a-rock sailors and can do just about anything on the boat, but what are they really like?

Justin is one of the most subtle sarcastic ball busters I have ever met. You don't even see if coming most of the time! It just gets you right when you're not expecting it. Michi has been the recipient of it lately, and I have to admit, I have jumped in between on occasion to stir it up, but it's funny and part of what we do out here. Being real and having fun is all a huge part of being offshore. Justin's sarcasm is a welcome wit – though when it's coming down on me it may not be so hilarious.

Salty is a different tale to tell. He came to us late in the game and was one of our last crew members to sign up. And as the last person in, Salty has not had the luxury of choosing the tasks he's in charge of. Meaning – Salty got stuck with the food program. He has brought along the typical freeze dried delicacies that could choke a horse. This stuff is bad and not getting any better. But, he has also eased a new treat into the mix, some bizarre canned New Zealand creamed rice. Canned!!! Not exactly the light weight food we were hoping he would turn up with. So far, Sidney is the only one who dares open a can and eat it, but as we have learned, Sid is the garbage disposal amongst the crew.

So finally, Salty was confronted about the mysterious canned rice from New Zealand and was specifically asked if this was his version of "never doing a bad job well." No way he claims- that was not his intent (with a small wry smile to go along with his confession). But is has all backfired and he is now food boy for life because his creamed rice has brought so many bad jokes and amusement to the crew that no matter what the weight penalty, it is clearly worth taking to have Salty's canned New Zealand creamed rice in our daily diet – or at least talk about it. Now if we could only find another person to try it.

Oh yes, sailing. We are still ripping toward Alicante and now officially a day ahead of our schedule thanks to the low that we are still riding at breakneck speed. The amazing things about these boats is that is does not take much to go 20 knots. So it is not like we are on rails or anything, just ripping along at 18-25 knots having fun with a lot of smiles and laugher on deck. Very few boats in the world would allow you to say this as most would have you holding on for dear life at those speeds. I have to admit that early on in the program our goal was to get a great bunch of guys on this boat, and for now it is easy to say we have succeeded.