Sorry we showed up at midnight, but we were just so sick of bashing upwind and falling off waves that we weren’t going to wait around for daylight. Going upwind for four days is no fun – that’s official, we tested it. And, the boat is strong – that’s also official.
Being the last one in, I see as a good thing. It means we worked, we took every day we possibly to learn and that’s always been the goal. Every time we leave the dock we learn something new. So, it was a good trip and a good training plan for exactly the last five months.
When we sailed into the harbor here in Alicante last night, I think it hit everybody at the same time that we are not in Kansas anymore! The pre-race training is over. The games is about to begin. The boats are all lined up out of the water – which is really cool. It immediately pegged the anticipation meter for all of us.
And, now the books on all of our teams are officially wide open. You can walk down the dock and see the differences among the boats - rigs, foils, deck layouts...
That’s part of the fun of open classes like this, you have essentially a year where you have blinders on and you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing. Now, we get to see what all of the other smart people have been doing first hand. Inevitably, there are always a couple ideas on all the competition that look pretty good, and at the same time there’s probably a few great ideas on our boat that you would imagine have others scratching their heads as well. That makes open class design and racing fun, with the variety of designs and subtleties. If it was all one design, you would just show up and go sailing. Now, this is when you start to understand what other teams have, where they may be good, where there may be weaknesses that you can exploit.
Of course, I also arrived to several emails from a bunch of my buddies back home, and they all were the most depressing emails ever. The Red Sox have officially broken all of our hearts again.
Ken Read, Skipepr, PUMA Ocean Racing