As a team, about a year ago we set May 1, 2011, as our date to have PUMA's new Volvo Open 70 in the water sailing. The fact that we are closing in on that date and it looks as if we'll meet our goal is practically a miracle. There are typically a million reasons during a boat build to continually move the schedule backwards -- all good reasons, by the way. But, the build team refused to buckle under, and everyone has double shifted for nearly the entire build and worked around the clock for the last six weeks to make sure that our sailing date would be met without a loss of quality. What did this extraordinary effort give us? Lots and lots of design time. We started the build as late as possible to give the Juan K office several weeks more than our schedule allowed, which immediately put our build team under the gun. Hopefully it was time well spent -- we certainly think so. Yet even with all that design time, our boat will be the second, third generation V-70 in the water. Fantastic!
This is certainly the week to praise our 40+ person build team lead by Brandon Linton, Tim Hacket and their spectacular construction "swat team," as well as the entire work force and management group at New England Boatworks. Brad Jackson has been a fantastic build coordinator from the sailing side, working daily with Nahuel Wilson from the Juan K office on every single detail on the boat. As I have said before, these races are won or lost before the start. Our entire build team has done their job amazingly well, now it's up to the sailors to keep the momentum going.
As we stand here on Monday, April 26, we have a complete Volvo Open 70. Over the next week, the entire team (both shore and sailing) will put the finishing touches on Mar Mostro. The boat has moved today from the low roof "building" shed to a high roof "finishing" shed to have the keel put on and the remaining big bits and pieces installed. Later this week, the completed boat will come out of the high roof shed to have the mast stepped. And after a "thank you party" for all the builders and suppliers and a day or so of stress tests, we get to go sailing early next week.
I have to admit, we're all antsy to get on our new boat. The final few build weeks is always hard on the team. Each of the sailors has their area of expertise and they're all dying to get on our new toy to try everything out. In a little over a week, we'll start the process of testing this amazing new piece of hardware and try to prove whether this boat will live up to very lofty expectations.
Soon enough, Mar Mostro will be sailing around Newport Harbor and into Rhode Island Sound. It will be pretty easy to tell who we are because the world has never seen a graphics package like this boat has. Plus, its still a bit chilly around here and there is literally no one else dumb enough to go sailing yet except for us.
As much as we've tried to keep quiet about this build, there are not too many people in the Newport area who don't know our schedule. The entire region has embraced our program, and I can't say thank you enough in return. This program for me has fulfilled a childhood dream of bringing a program like this to my home town. Four years of grand prix sailing out of Newport, and I can't wait to figure out what the next four years brings. But, first things first. We have a race to try and win. And, there's a lot of really good competition with a similar goal.