While PUMA’s new boat is being built, Skipper Ken Read and crew have taken up training on Alex Jackson and George David’s 100’ Maxi RAMBLER100. For those of you familiar with the maxi circuit, RAMBLER100 started life as SPEEDBOAT. Because of various factors, the boat was never fully utilized for the first two years of its life. SPEEDBOAT has been given a second life and is back as RAMBLER100, and lucky for PUMA, this boat will serve as a testing platform for the team.
For the past two months, RAMBLER100 has been worked on to get the boat into racing trim with lots of configuration and sail plan changes. In its SPEEDBOAT life, RAMBLER100 was a boat made to break records—meaning the crew would wait for a weather opportunity and once they got the word, the boat would head offshore and let it rip.
The boat is now going to be used in a much different capacity, which makes it a perfect platform for the PUMA crew. Many of the changes made have simplified the systems to make RAMBLER100 more competitive under the IRC rating system and much more similar to a Volvo Open 70- but on steroids!
Once the re-fit was complete, Ken and crew were tasked with learning how to sail this 100’ beast—not an easy task! The new team had about 11 days of sailing together before they participated in the Pineapple Cup (Ft Lauderdale to Kingston, Jamaica) in early February. The RAMBLER100 crew is an all-star cast of PUMA’s full Volvo team, a handful of RAMBLER regulars, as well as several crewmen that were involved in the original SPEEDBOAT project. All in all, a fantastic sailing team.
The next two events up for RAMBLER100 are the Caribbean 600 at the end of February and the Les Voiles de St. Barth in April.