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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
Gibraltar.
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.
-Kenny

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