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PUMA’s il mostro given rapturous applause in Alicante

September 20th, 2008

 PUMA Ocean Racing participates in the opening ceremony for the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009.
 Puma Ocean Racing Team

Puma Ocean Racing crew sporting the SLS Performance Polo

Alicante, Spain, September 20, 2008 – PUMA Ocean Racing joined the seven other teams in the opening ceremony festivities for the Volvo Ocean Race last night.  The crowd in the Port of Alicante were introduced to Puma and gave a warm welcome for il mostro and her crew.  The team will remain in Alicante through October when the race begins with the In-Port and Pro-Am Races on October 4-5.  Leg 1 of the 2008-2009 edition of the race begins on October 11 when the team leaves for Cape Town, South Africa.

Photo Credit: Sally Collison/PUMA Ocean Racing

12 Men In a Raft

September 19th, 2008

PUMA Ocean Racing successfully completes Safety Training School

Puma Ocean Racing Safety Training
I couldn’t say with any certainty how much time had passed since the MAYDAY and subsequent ABANDON SHIP call had gone out.  But there I was standing there in my survival suit, waiting to jump into the icy water below, knowing that we would have to form a safety circle and take a head count before swimming crocodile style to our life raft.  This was a daunting task and the crew knew that by the time we got to the life raft we would be exhausted.  
As night fell, one of our big guys, Shannon Falcone was able to right the raft allowing us to climb in as per our training.  Skipper Ken Read then called for another head count.

1 Kenny shouted

2…Jerry Kirby bellowed

Then silence…where’s 3?…It’s Michi someone yelled…Louder Michi!!!…sree (three in his German accent)…said Michi in the quietest shout I have ever heard


5 Justin…on and on through the entire crew.  

Sidney Gavignet is number 10, one before me.  When it came to my turn I prepared to belt it out big time but couldn’t tell if it came out as a roar or a whimper…11.  The noise of the wind inside the raft was deafening.  Thunder and lightening was all around us and the sky filled with huge flashes of light.  The water inside our raft was already ankle deep from the waves washing in over the side, and the rain seemed to find its way in everywhere.  This sucks I thought.    

And finally number 12, Shannon, our extra man was safely onboard.  Relief, all twelve members of PUMA Ocean Racing accounted for and present.

Thankfully, this wasn’t for real but was in fact the PUMA Ocean Racing team completing the two day Volvo safety course in the UK alongside the Irish Green Dragon team.  

As Volvo Ocean Race sailors, we take safety very seriously and the events of the last race are never far from our minds. We’re fully prepared for the worst, but I hope we never have to put our skills to use.

-Rick Deppe

Photo Credits: David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race

Technology Clothes The City

September 18th, 2008

The following piece was released by  Sfilate fashion magazine of Milan, Italy, Sfilate is a fashion magazine based upon runways and fashion news (www.sfilate.com):

SLAM Sportswear Fall 08SLAM Sportswear Fall 08 Collection

Technology clothes the city…A new thermo regulating jacket for all seasons: “Full Metal Jacket”.
Layered pants which boast a look for city wear but are technologically futuristic.
A warm-up vest in which to face the winter cold…The rallying cry for SLAM’s 2008-2009 collection is: TECHNOLOGY.
The company from Genoa is concentrating more and more on transferring the technology and engineering used for clothing in its ADVANCED collection to its TECHNOLOGY and SPORTSWEAR collections for everyday use.
Thermo-taped seams, breathability, waterproofness are but a few of the intrinsic winning features in SLAM clothing.  An accurate choice of materials: cashmere, “soft shell” and velvet, precision in the stitching and care exercised over the finer points result in an attractive and attention-getting collection.  Apart from classic cuts, we find close fitting lines, custom fit shirts and polo shirts designed for sportsmen who follow the latest trends.Jackets, which for years have been the top of the range in SLAM’s collections warrant particular attention.  Quilted jackets increase in volume and become glossier; new cloth reefer jackets are matched up with the technical features which set sports jackets apart (thermal taping, lamination and waterproofing) whilst retaining the look and comfort of cloth. Worthy of a special mention are the futuristic “soft shell” jackets assembled thanks to a system which uses ultrasound technology.  The SLAM man, who has always been sporty, a lover of the great outdoors, is a dynamic individual, attentive to detail and to quality of life.Loads of innovation too for the ladies for whom a collection with greater fashion emphasis and femininity has been designed.  Waistlines are higher and pants figure hugging; knitwear has longer lines, prints become transparent and t-shirts double-sided.Created for the dynamic and glamorous woman, the new gold line is embellished with gold detail.The new “Full Metal Jacket” is thermo regulating, adapting itself to variable atmospheric conditions.
SLAM attentive to changes in weather conditions and clients’ needs has designed a revolutionary jacket capable of regulating temperature in tandem with changing atmospheric conditions which have now become so unpredictable.SLAM Sportswear Full Metal jacket
By wearing the “Full Metal Jacket” you will never again feel too hot nor too cold, but will always experience a feeling of wellbeing thanks to the use of Outlast lining.
Outlast is a material which is able to keep body temperature constant by absorbing excess heat and releasing it as and when required.  Excursions in unpredictable temperatures and changes in climate will no longer present a problem.  PCM Outlast® Adaptive Comfort® technology was originally developed for NASA to provide astronauts with protection against the freezing cold or fiery heat out in space.In the patented microcapsules, known as Outlast® Thermocules™, substances similar to paraffin capable of changing the state of matter have been incorporated.  This principle of physics is well known, for example water changes into ice or vapor when energy is added or removed.  Outlast® technology makes use of exactly the same law of physics.The other characteristic inherent in Outlast® materials is the fact that the sheaths of the microcapsules incorporated in the fabric remain intact, meaning that their temperature regulating properties remain active ad infinitum.Layered pants with a city look but technologically futuristic.
Another jewel in the crown from SLAM’s collection is the surprising Three Layer Pant. “Classic” for men and with “5 pockets side by side” for women, these formal looking pants disguise a host of technical features: they are windproof, waterproof and at the same time breathable thanks to their Sympatex® membrane.  These pants which will never let the wearer down, even when taken unawares in a downpour.
Sympatex® is an ultra fine and non porous polyester membrane which, apart from guaranteeing excellent performance makes the trousers comfortable and elegant.In order maintain the human body’s energy balance, humidity produced by the body must quickly be wicked away to the outside; the membrane transports this moisture through the garment, creating an optimum micro-climate which keeps skin dry even during intense physical activity.  It offers protection, furthermore, against wind, rain and snow.In the wake of the success of the “Warm-up Jacket” the “Warm up Vest”.
Possessing three temperature settings, the new system guarantees 10 hours of warmth and, when the battery runs down, you only have to recharge it for three hours using the USB cable.
An overcoat in the wardrobe?  Let it gather dust because with this hyper technological vest you will never again suffer from the cold.  Worn under any jacket,  coat or top you will always feel warm and at ease.
The ecological technology of the Light Bay Shirt and the Blue Peal Polo shirt
SLAM continues to amaze… engineering and turning clothing for everyday wear into technologically advanced garments.
The Light Bay Shirt and Blue Pearl Polo shirt, thanks to workmanship both inside and out, benefit on the inside from the use of high tech polypropylene Dryarn® and externally from fashion design detail. 
Dryarn® is an innovative (dermatologically tested) micro-fiber which guarantees increased levels of performance even in the context of extreme use. 
The principal characteristics of the garment are:
BREATHABILITY: Dryarn® transports perspiration produced by physical activity to the outside. 
BACTERIOSTATIC:  It acts like an invisible barrier protecting and respecting the skin’s natural ph.
LIGHT: Dryarn is currently the lightest yarn on the market.
EASY CARE: Stain-resistant, non iron, colors don’t run.
THERMOREGULATING: stabilizes and keeps body temperature constant in external high or low temperatures, even in the most extreme conditions.
ECOLOGICAL: Dyed at the beginning (in paste) with non polluting additives. 100% recyclable.

Q & A with Brian Camet, You Know the Guy with the Shorts!

September 16th, 2008

From time to time we want to take the opportunity to get to know our vendors a bit better. Here we had a chance to sit down with Brian Camet, of Camet International and chat about some of the thinking that goes on with regards to their shorts; enjoy:

Camet Molakai Sailing Vest

1. Why do you make your products in the US?

Because there are still people who value American made products.  It is also to circumvent issues in turn around time, shipping, and overall cost (among other concerns).  Another gain involves simply avoiding loss of product and time.  If you have to jump on a plane and spend twenty-seven hours getting from here to there, it is not as easy to go and check on your products. It is much better to be able to oversee each step of the process.

Plus, if a team wants 100 pairs of shorts that match the color of the boat, we can do it in no time at all!  Go see if some other manufacturer will do that for you.

2. How do you rank the quality to other makers?

I would like to think that we are right at the top with other manufacturers. Our products  last a long time…maybe too long.  Yesterday I saw someone wearing a pair of shorts that we have not made for 8 years. Talk about a return on his investment!  I definitely think that we lead the way in short design.  You can go to any regatta and you will see that there are a lot of CAMET shorts out there…so we are doing something right. Our customers love their shorts and we love to hear that.

3.  Who does the design work for the Camet Line?

We have a group of amazing designers that travel all over the world to check out the latest fashions to see what will be the next great thing. We gather ideas from all forms of active sports to infuse our products with innovative ideas and features that keep us in the front of the pack. Most of the style comes from right here in California where the sun shines all the time. California is where all the trends start.

4. Where do you get your fabric… is everything made and bought in the US to build for consumers?

Yes, all of our fabrics are made in the US. We have mills on the east coast that make propriatory fabrics for all of our clothing. Then they are shipped to the west coast by truck where they go to the cut and sew facility to be made into garments.

Thank Brian for taking the time!

Puma Ocean Racing Crew Member Michi Mueller Interview

September 15th, 2008

Puma Ocean Racing Crew Michi MuellerToday, Ken Read set me the seemingly impossible task of interviewing Michi Mueller.
My brief, get up close and personal with our quiet but very talented crewmate
I hope I succeeded.
RD: So Michi, an eight day Transatlantic crossing – not bad in a mono-hull – you musthave had perfect conditions. How was the trip for you?
MM: Great
RD: You told me earlier that you’ve done this trip twice before. How did the brilliant sailing conditions experienced by il mostro, with back to back high mileage days in great reaching conditions, compare to previous Transatlantics that you have done on other boats? I think you mentioned Newport to Cuxhaven Race? (Shakes his head a little)
MM: Ok, pretty easy (mumbles something into the wind that I don’t catch)
RD: You came to the team from the America’s Cup arena where sailing is very different. Volvo sailors usually have a pretty strong skill set, as well as practical sailing skills, how would you describe your role on the boat?
MM: I grind
RD: I know you do more than that because I’ve seen you all over the boat. Anything else?
MM: Some trimming, maybe drive a bit
RD: So how does a typical 4 hour watch go down for you?
MM: Mainly grinding
(Thinking to myself – OK, OK, this is all good stuff, it seems pretty straight
forward…how hard can it be?)
RD: So Michi, the race village opens soon and the other team will all be here by then, any nervousness about the race?
MM: Not really
RD: Would it be accurate to say that you are the Rookie on the team?
(looks slightly uncomfortable then shrugs)
MM: Maybe
(Thinking to myself again, this is harder than I though…I need some help here…)
RD: Michi you’re German right? Has there been a language barrier for you on the multinational PUMA team?
MM: It’s harder for the Kiwis
RD: Michi, that reminds me. You told a great joke the other day. The one about Velcro gloves being New Zealand’s most popular sex toy! That was pretty funny.
MM: Yes
(IDEA…I know how to get something out of him)
RD: You found out recently that you will be joining every other person on this boat by becoming a Dad soon, how does that make you feel?
MM: Best news I ever got
RD: You don’t say much do you Michi??!!??…
-Rick Deppe

Star North Americans – It’s Over!

September 14th, 2008

by Eric Lind
John MacCausland & Kevin Murphy Win Star North American Championship

Wind for the day was predicted to be Southeast at 6 building to 10, but the 30 Star boats sailed out of the Harbor to find East wind at 12 to 13 that held for the duration. PRO John Koopman called for another 4 leg W/L and the fleet started clean with no recalls. Second place team of MacCausland/Murphy won the race and cut the 4 point lead of Merriman/Trinter to 1 point as they finished 4th.

With a 1400 cutoff time looming and with the conditions deteriorating it appeared that the next race would be the last. The start of the race was the defining moment as Merriman/Trinter were OCS and did not return. When they were notified at the weather mark they chose to head for the hoist. Knowing that Merriman/Trinter would have to now count their 14th in R2 and that they would only have to count a 4, MacCausland/Murphy chose to drop out the next time around and head for the barn with the championship.

Overall it was an excellent regatta and everyone raved about the great job that the Irish Boat Shop staff and Little Traverse Yacht Club membership did in hosting this event. Jon ’Who Has More Fun’ VanderMolen and the Gull Lake Star Fleet did a tremendous job of organizing even though the venue was 300 miles away and we are all looking forward to doing it again in the future.

Star North Americans – Day 3

September 13th, 2008

report by Eric Lind
After yesterday’s wonderful conditions we awoke to light rain and cool, gray skies this morning with wind from the North. Reports that the wind was blowing out on the bay were not correct and we spent 3 frustrating hours with wind just not quite strong enough and not quite consistent enough to race.

We finally got a race started just after 2pm this afternoon. The wind was in the 7 – 8 range with some left over chop coming in from Lake Michigan. Lots of shifts brought lots of position changes between marks, but in the end the top 2 boats from Thursday, Merriman/Trinter & MacCausland/Murphy, fought each other hard for the top 2 spots.

The RC got another race off under the black flag after 2 general recalls and as the sky cleared the wind diminished making for more challenging conditions. Again it was Merriman first and MacCausland second and after 5 races with a throwout kicking in the standings show Merriman/Trinter in 1st with 4 pts and MacCausland/Murphy 2nd with 8 pts. In 3rd place, and leading the Masters Division, is Ched Proctor and Kip Gardner with 20 pts.

Tomorrow is the last day of the regatta and the wind is forecast at 6, building to 10, from the Southeast. With a 1400 cutoff time the chances of getting more than 2 races in are slim.

Star North American Championships – Day 2

September 12th, 2008

September 11th – by Eric Lind, Race Committee Chair
WOW!!! This has to have been one of the best days on the water that I can remember. We got 3 races in just over 4 hours and everyone is back at Irish Boat Shop enjoying some Bravo! beer.

All 3 races were 4 leg W/L with a 1.5 nm leg. Wind was in the low to mid teens during the first race and maybe some higher gusts as one mast was broken while races 2 & 3 saw the wind subside to the 9 – 12 range. Star Class veteran John MacCausland from Cooper River in New Jersey and crew Kevin Murphy put together 3 strong finishes of 3, 1, and 4 for a total of 8 points and an 8 point lead over Rick Merriman and crew Phil Trinter. In 3rd place is Star Class President Bill Allen with crew Brad Lichter at 17 points. We are hoping to get 3 more in tomorrow and 2 on Saturday to complete the championship.

Day two report by Barbara Beigel Vosbury
The forecast was for the wind to build and rumor had it that the wind would then clock. As with all regattas and venues, “it’s never like this here“. The wind started out around 15 kts with higher gusts and diminished to about 10 with gusts, but not so high.

John Koopman, Eric Lind and the great RC got three races off yesterday, playing catch up for the day before. Did I mention yesterday that this is a great venue? The waves were challenging and the skies were beautiful blue with white puffy clouds. The puffs blasted down the course with determination and the water that hit your face was refreshing.

The carnage was minimal, one mast, one pole and a few bruised egos, but that is to be expected with a fleet like this. Not as many boats as we would like to have but the talent is strong and the racing is fierce. One mistake and well, you know the story.

One great thing about smaller events is the camaraderie. You really get to know your competitors. We have some new members here, Jack Jennings, Dan Coughlin and Dave Irish. I hope that they have found our class to be as classy, friendly and competitive as we feel we are. Dave Irish last night described his impression of the Star as ‘intimate’. Everything is compact and right at your finger tips and it is the only way two men can spend so much time with a feminine object and get away with it!

Rick Merriman and Phil Trinter were the recipients of the Jack Daniels Trophy as winners of the first race.

The dinner at Bay Harbor Yacht Club was traditional Michigan food, corn on the cob, ribs, corn bread, everything from here and very yummy! Thank you to everyone who helped put this together.

Today we will be taking any junior that is on the dock for a spin in a Star, should be fun!

It’s Swan Cup time again!

September 9th, 2008


SLAM _ Swan CupPorto Cervo: With the Maxi Rolex Cup put to bed, the rhythm has not slowed in Porto Cervo. It’s now the turn of the Swan Cup, the regatta which attracts the passionate owners of these elegant yachts, many of whom are real fans of the SLAM SHOP in Porto Cervo, to which they are quick to pay a visit. On sale in the SLAM shop, which is located just adjacent to the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the Sailing Summer and Winter Jackets, Almeria Bermuda shorts and shirts featuring the event branding “Rolex Swan Cup 2008” are on sale. These, in addition to the usual SLAM technical and sportswear collections.

 The event will run from 8th to 14th September and will see various crews kitted out in SLAM clothing:  After the acid green chosen by “Moneypenny” during the Maxi Rolex Cup, it’s now the turn of the Dutch Swan 42 “Baraka” wearing the RC Spray Top and Long John in lime yellow.  Carlo Perrone on Atlantica Racing, the Swan 45 which has been wearing SLAM for years, has been supplied with the Albatron sweatshirt (featuring water resistant and wind-proof inserts on both back and front), the Buldir vest, Zip Grinder in meryl, Boabunda pants and Elba shoes as kit for the crew.

You’ll see the crews of “White Lie” and “Moustique”, the other Swan 45, in the Regatta Polo Shirt.  From Cowes, the Swan 82 “Crackerjack” is kitted out in Wally and Freedom polo shirts (the latter made from resistex carbon); the Hissar model being their Bermuda shorts of choice.

PUMA Ocean Racing – Transatlantic Debrief

September 8th, 2008

September 6, 2008

Puma Ocean Racing
Even after only 10 days at sea it’s amazing what a shower, shave and real meal will do for
your soul.
We have arrived at Alicante, Spain, the final destination prior to the start of our great
journey. Alicante is a little over 300 miles up the Mediterranean from the Rock of
Our last 24 hours was fast and fun. Downwind in 20-33 knots of breeze through the
night, caught out with all the big gear up from time to time. Yikes! Several sail changes
and lots of high speed sailing. Getting used to the speeds is a big part of our training and
we certainly got that checked off on this transatlantic adventure. Also, we arrived nearly
a day and a half ahead of schedule, making Kimo (Kimo Worthington, GM of PUMA
Ocean Racing) and the operations folks scramble a bit for hotel rooms. But, they pulled
it off as always.
Our trial leg certainly wasn’t without excitement from time to time. We snapped a canard
- check that – we snapped both canards on unidentified objects. Not exactly the best way
to get us to sleep soundly at night as there is certainly a lot of uncertainty in these vast
oceans. We are quite sure that both mishaps happened on objects – not marine life, so
our Save the Whales friends need not come knocking on our door.
The crew was put to the test and passed with flying colors. We had several different
conditions that proved invaluable in preparing us for the real game.
So where does that leave us? Work lists are being created and a final re-build of the boat
is in progress as we speak. Our shore base (base one was packed up in Newport and
shipped directly to Cape Town) is buzzing with excitement as the shore team gets the
boat back and they, with the help of the sailors, get things in order. We’ll get safety
courses out of the way soon and then the team will have a few days off. After a short
break it’s right back at it to do final checks on race sails which are on their way to us from
North Sails.
Finally, one very interesting part of this race is clearly going to be the 11th crew member
or the media member as Volvo calls it. I have always been a bit squeamish about
watching those reality shows that essentially stick a camera in your face at any
inopportune time and hope you freak out or cry or say something that will embarrass you
forever. Well, I (we) are now living in this reality world and I really think that the sport
could get a huge shot in the arm from it. Ricky Deppe is really doing a great job, and I
am sure that there are several other good cameramen in this race. These guys should be
able to show an aspect of our sport the world has never seen or even imagined. But,
getting used to that camera constantly lingering about is a bit disconcerting. I guess what
I am trying to say is that I apologize in advance for all the dumb stuff I will be doing in
front of the unseen camera for the next 9 months. And I extend that apology from the
rest of sailing team.
All in all, everything is a great here and we have successfully gotten to a major time in
the young life of PUMA Ocean Racing. Soon the real test begins. Stand by.

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