Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"One if by land two if by sea"

Ken Read at the Puma Open Boston - the Pinehills Plymouth, MA
As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow so aptly put it in his famous poem 'bout the start of the Revolutionary War "...one if by land two if by sea." While not quite the Revolutionary War - the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race was a nine month treacherous battle none the less! Hailed as the "Everest of Sailing," this premier round the world race is held every four years and is the ultimate test of physical endurance, skill and competitive spirit! The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 kicked off in Alicante, Spain in October 2008 with 7 boats. All in all the teams ended up sailing approximately 46,000 nautical miles of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Kochi, Singapore, Qingdao, around Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway, Goteborg and Stockholm - finishing up in St. Petersburg Russia in June 2009! The race spanned four continents and five oceans and there were 11 stopovers in 10 countries! Each of the seven entries raced day and night on a Volvo Open 70 which can exceed speeds over 30 knots. The sailing teams consisted of 11 professional crew which included an onboard media specialist (with a total of 7 cameras onboard) and crew members performed various roles from skipper to medic to bowman to engineer to sailmaker to navigator. The amount of space each crew member had aboard the boat was 2 meters of space per person, equivalent to living in a carbon fiber phone booth! During the race the crews experienced extreme conditions such as sleep deprivation, temperature variations ranging from -5 to +40 degrees Celsius and wind speeds from 0 to 70 knots! There was no fresh food aboard and the crew lived off freeze dried fare re-hydrated with desalinated seawater and had to eat an average of 5,000 calories a day to sustain their energy levels! Each crew member only had one change of clothing and there was no fresh water for showering (which prolly made everything rather salty!) The only North American stopover was in Boston. After finishing up Leg 6, from Rio-De Janero to Boston, the Volvo Ocean Race converged onto Boston's Fan Pier where a temporary city, "the International Race Village," was erected from April 27 through May 16. There was music, celebrations, eclectic food and awesome in-port racing! Team Puma even erected a temporary storefront for all their fans! The Volvo Ocean Race had an entourage of over 1,000 people traveling at any one time, from journalists, families, friends, sponsors, additional spare parts, logistical and shore crews! At the helm of Puma's boat "Il Mostro" was international sailing legend Ken Read! Kenny, along with Team Puma, finished up in second place overall! Kenny's home port is Newport, R.I. and since arriving home Kenny said that "....for the first time in my life I actually took a real vacation." This Summer it's been all about the golf for Ken! He says, "I don't make my living at golf so I can go out and have fun and tweak and try different things, I really really enjoy it." Kenny claims his handicap is an 11 - I think he was just being humble 'cause that's the kind of guy he is! Go to www.pumaoceanracing.com/us/en to view amazing footage of this dramatic race!

Puma's "Il Mostro" Christening - Boston Harbor May 2008

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