There are a lot of people in this world who believe that practice makes perfect. There are also a lot of people in this world who don’t believe in perfection. As we make our way towards the Spanish island-town of Palma de Mallorca on the Volvo Ocean Race practice race, we have to put ourselves somewhere in the middle.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG Propulsion can never be perfect, that is for sure, but it is important to recognise the value in practising like we race, and taking advantage of opportunities like these to learn as much as we can in as little time as possible.
The start was the first time Mar Mostro has lined up against another Volvo Open 70. It was our first gauge -- but not a true one, as we are not using all of our new sails, if any.
Consequently there is little to gain from a relative performance perspective, and so the onboard focus remains in making sure we do what we need to do in order to show up for the race’s real start in a few weeks as prepared as possible. Sail selections are scrutinized, food kinds and quantities sorted, do-dads and thingamajigs fitted, repairs tested…the pre-race worklist goes on and on.
One area of practice previously untested was the mandatory “man overboard” drill. By the start of the race every sailor on board every boat will have completed a Safety At Sea seminar, but today’s fleet-wide drill while we were underway (and well into the rhythm) emphasised the difficulty in such a rescue, a procedure of enormous importance. Thankfully the dummy swimmer was recovered quickly, and on we march.
We’re currently doing 12 knots over the water in 14 knots of breeze, on port tack and heading 80-degrees or so, aimed right at Ibiza. CAMPER is off our hip, above and behind, Telefónica and Abu Dhabi below us and in front. Realistically though, none of that matters much. Sailing off into the dark of practice night number one, we seek no perfection -- only progression. We hope only to continue the process of improvement another day, another step.
Amory Ross, PUMA MCM
Photo Credit: Chris Hill/PUMA Ocean Race