Getting used to the speeds in these boats is imperative. It’s not something that necessarily comes naturally. What you think is fast can always be faster. And, this place is hopefully going to bring that drive to each of us individually and collectively as a team.
After doing the Transatlantic Race, the sailors took two weeks off. In those two weeks, the shore team completely took apart the boat and put it back together again, checking every millimeter of it, and they set up a fantastic shore base here at the Puerto Calero Marina. We showed up and literally stepped onto the boat – it was fantastic.
We’re sailing around 6-7 hours a day, six days a week, and we’re going offshore at least once a week. Over the weekend we headed out for 32 hours, traveling around 360 miles, hitting every angle on the compass.
Some of these trips are no fun. We left the dock Saturday in 35 knots of breeze, knowing we wanted to go upwind for the next 14 hours. It’s not the highlight of the training session, but it’s absolutely necessary. It fits into the philosophy of break it now, don’t break it during the race. So, we let it rip all night long, turned around, reached and ran home. Mission accomplished.
All boats are man-made – designed and built by humans – and no matter how good modern computerized tools are there’s going to be a weak spot somewhere. If you build a boat never to break, it means it’s too heavy and slow. If you build it on the light side, it will break all of the time and you can never sail up to speed. Every boat like this is in the middle ground – somewhere between a brick outhouse and toilet paper. Of course you always hope you have that happy medium.
It’s easy to keep saying we’re really happy with our boat so far…so instead of doing that, we’re just going to keep trying to break it. Poor thing.