Skipper Ken Read describes his team's charge to and through the Straits of Gibraltar
“I would guess that leaving for any sort of journey would have its ups and downs. Leaving for a long sailboat race is no different. Although I had to keep reminding my wife and daughter that it was only three weeks…it certainly seemed bigger to all of us. The entire team for that matter.
Each of the guys and all of the girls had watery eyes as we left Alicante, a town which was an amazing host to the start of this race. And leaving the shore team who has been nothing short of miracle workers was hard as well.
But unlike our families, who were clearly sad, the shore team had a look on each of their faces -‘thank god you are leaving and please don’t break and come back!’ Or something like that.
And then there was the PUMA support network for the past two years that showed up by the hundreds at the start. What great friendships we have found with all the PUMA folks. They really have gone far beyond being sponsor. We are all a big family and it was great to see their excitement when we were heading off.
But I am guessing that there have been a million words written about the start. So I will go into the race itself as life has been a bit hectic since our start, including quite a fast and furious first 10 hours. Planing into the lead, losing visual contact with the two Ericsson boats in a little squall, and the next thing we knew they were 15 miles ahead of us. Certainly good work on their part as they clearly had a plan to go north at Cabo de Gada.
We gybed on a 40 degree shift and thought it was a no brainer and sailed ourselves into lighter air. Sounds like the Ericsson boats did their homework a little better than we did and good for them.
Since that time we have had squalls, drift off’s, tons of tacking and gybing – all to be overlapped with the Green Dragon and Telefónica Black in the Straits of Gibraltar. Pretty cool actually, as we had a few mechanical problems today on board and catching up the way we did was a huge boost for the team.
We are now in third heading southwest toward the tip of Africa. There were a few boats taking photo’s in the Straits. Media man Ricky Deppe held up a sign that said ‘Help, get me off this boat’. There were no takers. His reputation must have preceded him.
Anyway, it is great to be at sea. Great to back with the boys. And besides having a little catching up to do with the two Ericsson boats, and fending off the rest of the fleet, all is great on board.”