Volvo Ocean Race build update from Ken Read, Puma Ocean Racing.
Astounding activity surrounds Puma Ocean Racing in the little state of Rhode Island, USA. We feel very fortunate to be building our boat near Newport.
Not only is this where I call home, but Newport has a long tradition of expert boat building. Our hull and deck are now one piece. I'm sure New England Boat Works is happy we're being contained in one bay now. Next steps are to complete the deck details and to build the inside of our new racing machine. Hall Spars is up the road in Bristol, working on our mast. And while our sails were built out in Nevada, they will be completed one state away at North Sails in Milford, Connecticut.
Another massive project that is currently underway is the graphics. For reasons I cannot explain, our general manager Kimo Worthington has, once again, taken it on to personally oversee the graphics. To tell you the true, it's better him doing it than me because if I were in charge, we'd have a pretty plain-looking boat in order to save on weight. But the graphics on this new boat are amazing and you'll all see them soon enough. Kimo is surrounded by some incredibly creative and talented graphic designers from GBH in London. The paint is being put on by air-brush artist Dean Loucks. It is a huge project and Kimo and the gang are going to have a lot of sleepless nights up to launch day!
While it's a huge relief that we have a structure resembling a boat now, it's an even bigger relief to have our full sailing team announced. We spent a lot of time and brain power on our final crew selection. I'm confident the two new members are the right fit for our team.
We've lured Kelvin Harrap (NZL) away from America's Cup racing and back into ocean racing. That's the thing about the Volvo Ocean Race, you may think you've gotten it out of your blood (even after a 10 plus year hiatus), but it's a hard drug to kick. Kelvin said he was a bit concerned that he is lacking in offshore experience, but if you've done this race twice, you're more than qualified in my opinion. Having done two trips around the world, plus working with various America's Cup campaigns, Puma has really lucked in with Kelvin and he will fit the multiple roles that we have waiting for him.
The final hire we made completed our under 30 requirement. We literally searched the world for a sailor to fill this final spot and it turns out we didn't need to look very far when we chose fellow Rhode Islander, Rome Kirby. Rome has been living and breathing sailing for as long as I can remember and was born to do this race. I used to watch his junior races with his Dad (Jerry) and would always comment how this kid has the natural ability to make a boat go fast. Not only can he sail fast, but he has the drive to succeed and a tremendous work ethic. Even though he's the real rookie of our team, Rome takes on the attitude of a veteran, something he has learned by being around the best sailors in the world from a very young age.
From here on, the big push is on. Between now and May, our boat will be transformed from a hull to a Volvo Open 70. A big thank you to the entire boat-build and design team who are putting really long hours in so we can meet the beginning of our training schedule.
Very exciting times. The PUMA OCEAN RACING SAILING TEAM
Ken Read (49), United States
Considered to be one of the world’s most accomplished racers, Read was in charge of PUMA Ocean Racing and at the helm of PUMA’s il mostro throughout the entire Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009. The U.S.-born Read has twice helmed America’s Cup programs in 2000 and 2003 and was named 'United States Rolex Yachtsman of the Year' twice and has 46 World, North American and National Championships to his credit.
Tom Addis (41), Australia
Addis, a trained meteorologist, joins PUMA as a navigator after sailing with Telefonica Blue during the 2008-09 Volvo, taking two leg wins. Tom has sailed thousands of offshore miles onboard Maxi Alfa Romero, winning both Sydney-Hobart and Transpac races. Addis also sailed with America’s Cup Team New Zealand in 2007.
Ryan Godfrey (30), Australia
Trimmer & Driver
Godfrey joins PUMA as an under-30 after a 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race win onboard Ericsson 4, where he was part of their 24 hour monohull speed record. In addition to his Volvo experience, Ryan’s sailing resume includes numerous offshore titles, and America’s Cup and Louis Vuitton Series campaigns. He works side by side with Tony Mutter and PUMA’s sail team.
Kelvin Harrap (41), New Zealand
Driver & Trimmer
With two previous Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Races in the 90’s under his belt, Harrap returns to the Volvo Ocean Race with PUMA. Kelvin’s inshore experience with an Olympic and various America’s Cup campaigns will prove valuable, as he’ll transition to tactician for the PUMA team during in-port racing as well as be a critical trimmer and driver offshore.
Brad Jackson (42), New Zealand
Design Coordinator & Watch Captain
Named New Zealand Sailor of the Year in 2009, Jackson has sailed the Volvo Ocean Race five times and is one of only three people to have won the Around the World Race three times. Jackson was a member of Ericsson 4 which won the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009 and has been part of three 24-hour monohull speed records. In addition to his role as watch captain, Jackson serves as design coordinator for the PUMA program, mixing the sailors’ input with Juan K’s creative and technical expertise.
Rome Kirby (21), United States
Trimmer & Driver
Kirby joins PUMA as the youngest team member for his first Volvo Ocean Race. Having grown up sailing since the age of three, Rome honed his skills on the US and international junior sailing circuits. Since the age of 14, Kirby has logged thousands of offshore miles and gained valuable experience inshore.
Michi Mueller (28), Germany
Mueller is back to fill one of PUMA’s under-30 slots. Michi sailed onboard il mostro during the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 and is proof that the young sailors bring a new enthusiasm to the race. During the 2008-09 Volvo he was awarded the inaugural Han Horrevoets Rookie Trophy for his outstanding contribution to the PUMA team.
Tony Mutter (42), New Zealand
Aerodynamics Coordinator & Watch Captain
Mutter joins PUMA after sailing onboard Volvo Ocean Race 08/09 winner Ericsson 4. Mutter has sailed four Volvos, winning twice. He has been part of three Volvo crews where the 24-hour monohull record has been broken. As aerodynamics coordinator, he will work closely with North Sails to design the next generation of VO70 sails. Tony will sail onboard for PUMA as watch captain.
Casey Smith (32), Australia
Systems Manager & Bowman
Smith joined the crew of PUMA’s il mostro for the Volvo Ocean Race 08/09 as one of the under 30’s. Smith was instrumental in repairing structural damages to il mostro during the last race and was honored with the seamanship award for his efforts in replacing il mostro’s rudder during the Leg 7 Trans-Atlantic crossing.
Jonathan 'Jono' Swain, (43), South Africa
Driver & Trimmer
Jono Swain comes to PUMA with experience in four Volvo Ocean Races, most recently as watch captain onboard Telefonica Blue. Swain is considered an 'all around sailor,' mixing offshore experience with an impressive inshore resume which includes an America’s Cup campaign and Louis Vuitton Series. PUMA OCEAN RACING SHORE TEAM MANAGEMENT
Kimo Worthington (49), United States
Kimo Worthington has a rare combination of management expertise onshore and leadership on the water. His professional sailing career includes competing in six America’s Cups, including a win with America3 in 1992, and more than 80,000 miles of ocean racing. In the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race, Worthington was watch captain and sailing team manager for the winning EF Language team. In the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 edition he served as General Manager for second place Pirates of the Caribbean and in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009 he was general manager for PUMA Ocean Racing.
Tim Hacket (38), Australia
Shore Team Manager
Tim Hacket has been building racing yachts for over 20 years. A native Australian, Tim is now based in Newport, Rhode Island. Tim’s experience includes four America’s Cup boat builds and two Volvo Ocean Race shore teams, mostly recerntly as part of PUMA’s Volvo 2008/09 campaign. Volvo Ocean Race website Puma website