The Pirates of the Caribbean were back on the water and sailing yesterday for the first time since withdrawing from the opening leg of the VOR
The Pirates of the Caribbean were back on the water and sailing yesterday for the first time since withdrawing from the opening leg of the race.
After suffering a leak through the keel fairing doors on the first night of racing The Black Pearl was forced to pull out of the opening leg and seek urgent repairs in Cascais, Portugal.
But a month on, fully repaired and looking like new, The Black Pearl returned to the water for a practice sail this afternoon and skipper Paul Cayard was happy to report the problems which wrecked their first leg are now cured.
“The boat feels no different. It shouldn’t feel different. From a performance viewpoint, nothing has changed. We just repaired some things that were broken,” said the American winner of the 1998 Whitbread Race.
“It was fantastic to get back on the water. We are all very competitive, we like racing and we love this race so it was heartbreaking to be taken out of the competition right at the beginning like that, but we are also realists and these boats are right at the cutting edge.”
Cayard has also revealed that in a bid to make up for lost time he will lead his crew out into the open ocean for a three day offshore training session ahead of the In Port race on Boxing Day.
“This boat was only 60 days old when we started the race. Maybe it was not quite fully ready. Now with the extra three weeks, we have put a lot of work into the boat and I feel the boat is much more prepared now than when we left Vigo and I want to go out and prove that. I want to go out sailing for three days because it is pretty windy out here. It’ll be a good test of the boat so we will be ready on 26 December.
“It was pretty breezy today, but this was a mild condition for these boats because the water here is so smooth. The difference between today and the next three days is that we will go out in the open ocean and find 25ft waves. The slamming on those waves is what really pushes the structure and that’s where we had failures, so we need to make sure can we can withstand the beating because it will be a rough ride down to Australia for two weeks.
“In some ways, we’ve missed out on three weeks of good development of the boat. Not only did we miss out on the points, more importantly, we missed out on learning about the boat so that is a disadvantage. But the truth of the next leg will be about keeping the boat and crew in one piece because nobody will be able to let the thing go full speed all the way down there.”