We had a great start on the Pearl and we are out of there! It is always fun to win the start of these offshore legs even if it probably doesn’t mean much over the three weeks that we have ahead of us. But is it the time when you are in front of the public, television etc, and everyone is cheering, the spectator boats are trying to keep up and with a spectacular back drop like Wellington harbor, I am sure the photos will be special. It was a reaching start where we managed to hit the line a full speed, roll our competitors and lead the entire way on a short lap around Wellington Harbor.

The wind was gusting up to 20 knots as we planed down the entrance of the bay, a good show for sure for the very knowledgeable and appreciative Kiwi public.

The good start was extra nice for the Pirates as the last 24 hours a has been quite a scramble of us. One of our bowmen, Curtis Blewett got injured on leg 3 and went straight to the hospital for x-rays on our arrival Thursday. He underwent a series of treatments and injections to try to make it for this leg (his favorite), but early yesterday afternoon, his doctor told him he should not go. Being in a bind, we made a few calls to some of our Kiwi friends up island to see if they would help us out but they were not able to. At 17:00 we made the decision to take our sailmaker, Jeremy Smith. He had a bit on to meet the Volvo medical requirements and we submitted his paperwork and received approval from the Race Committee for the substitution. Jeremy will do a great job and it is breaks like this that can change a career for a young sailor like Jeremy so I am glad he was able to step in.

We are currently about 30 miles off the Southwestern Cape of the North Island of New Zealand. We went through a transition in the wind.a wind shadow cause by the high mountains.but now we are moving at 20 knots again.

We took the “corner” wider that ABN AMRO ONE, our closest competitor and Brasil 1 and ABN AMRO TWO tried to cut the corner as well. We have gained a lot on all of them.

Ericsson has made a strong move to the southwest, staying out of the transition for longer, and that could pay off nicely for them.

We are settling in now, starting our watches, cooking our first meal, stacking the boat with everything to port. The forecast is for 17-20 knots of wind, initially from 020 then backing to 345 over the next 30 hours or so. We have to sail around a high pressure system that is to our east so we are sailing a bit more southerly than we might otherwise sail.

The mood onboard is good and we are settling in for three of the best weeks of our lives, ones we will surely never forget!

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean

Wellington, New Zealand

After a three day pitstop in Wellington, New Zealand the Pirates of the Caribbean will start Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race on 19th February. On Leg 4, the Pirates of the Caribbean team will race 6,700 nautical miles from Wellington, New Zealand to the finish line in Rio, Brazil.

“Our third place finish on Leg 3 was another solid performance adding to our second place in the Melbourne inshore race. We will be taking some momentum into Leg 4, which is important, as this is the toughest leg of the race.deep into the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn. We have enjoyed our short stay in Wellington. The Kiwis are enthusiastic sailing fans and we appreciate that,” commented Paul Cayard, Skipper of The Black Pearl.

Onboard The Black Pearl is a crew of round the world veterans boasting more than 15 circumnavigations. For Leg 4, Jeremy Smith a member of the Pirates of the Caribbean Shore Team from Christchurch, New Zealand will be stepping onboard. Smith will take the place of Canadian sailor Curtis Blewett who sustained an injury during Leg 3.

Blewett, who had taken time out from Alinghi to race with the Pirates of the Caribbean, commented “I am very disappointed because we were a late entry to the race and it has taken a lot of work to get The Black Pearl working well. We finally reached that point in Melbourne and gained a great deal on Leg 3. I am especially disappointed to miss out on this leg with the boys, because rounding the Horn is the soul of this race.”

On this, the second of the Southern Ocean legs, the Volvo Ocean Race has set two ice waypoints at 48 degrees South that have to be passed to starboard, to try and keep the yachts out of the most dangerous ice territory. There are opportunities for points to be made up at the scoring gate when rounding Cape Horn. Once The Black Pearl passes Cape Horn the team will start the journey back towards the Northern hemisphere. The Pirates of the Caribbean are expected to arrive in Rio on March 7th.


Erle Williams (NZ) – “A great deal has changed since I first participated in this race in 1981. The biggest change is in the technological development, in the early days, people raced the boats they had under IOR. It was more of an adventure than a profession.”

Jules Salter (UK) – “This will be my first time rounding Cape Horn. The challenge will be in keeping the boat in good shape and determining our best angle of approach for a fast rounding. Most of the ice reported thus far will be after we round Cape Horn.”

Robert Crockett, Director Buena Vista International New Zealand “It was a pleasure to welcome the crew of The Black Pearl to New Zealand, particularly given that there were four Kiwis onboard.”

Crew list

Paul Cayard (USA)

Jules Salter ( UK )

Justin ‘Juggy’ Clougher (AUS)

Justin Ferris ( NZ)

Rodney Arden (NZ)

Craig Satterthwaite (NZ)

Erle Williams (NZ)

Dirk de Ridder (NL)

Anthony ‘Youngster’ Merrington (AUS)

Jeremy Smith (NZ)

Current Leaderboard

[position/team name/skipper/race points to date]

1. TEAM ABN AMRO ONE, Mike Sanderson (NZL) 38.5 pts

2. TEAM ABN AMRO TWO, Sebastien Josse (FRA) 28 pts

3. Movistar, Bouwe Bekking (NED) 25 pts

4. Pirates of the Caribbean, Paul Cayard (USA) 21.5 pts

5. Brasil 1, Torben Grael (BRA) 20 pts

6. Ericsson Racing Team, Neal McDonald (GBR) 16.5 pts


The Australian arm of Buena Vista International organized a spectacular barbeque for the Pirates and the local team, with a guest appearances from Mark Zoradi, Jeff Foremann, Robert Crockett and Donald Evans.  Peta Ascham, National Marketing Director of BVI, presented Paul with this heartfelt ‘Ode to the Pirates’.

Download the Poem Here (Adobe Acrobat required)

With less than three hours until the start of Leg 4, the Pirates are busy with final preparations. Martin is filling in paperwork and taking newest crew member Jeremy (DB) to the dentist, Rikard is on his way to the only pharmacy in town open on a Sunday and Mark is in search of the perfect sandwich for the sailors.

The Black Pearl arrived into Wellington relatively unscathed so the sailors have had a bit of time to relax and prepare for Leg 4. All the Kiwis on board have enjoyed visiting with their families and long lost friends who have come out to support the team.

On Friday, the tables finally turned for the shore team who relished in the opportunity to watch the sailors tackle minor repairs and clean The Black Pearl. The highlight of the pitstop was watching Mike Danks instructing Paul on how to clean the team’s foul weather gear and the deck over a megaphone from the comfort of his dockside deck chair. Meanwhile Mark Reihana served up barbeque burgers and the duo even made an appearance on the national evening news!

The local Buena Vista International team welcomed us to Wellington and their costumed Pirates have entertained the children visiting the race village over the last few days, armed with great Pirate jokes and plenty of tattoos.

According to Kimo,”Wellington has turned out to be a great pitstop. The set up has given everyone a little more freedom and time to spend with each other, as well as with the other teams. No offices might well be the way ahead! In the end, I think the sailors have actually had fun working on the boats.”

The team is disappointed to set off without fellow crew member, Curtis on board, but we are all wishing him a very speedy recovery. Curtis will take a few days out to relax in NZ, before heading home and then back to Valencia to join Alinghi.

Susie and I are heading down to the boat now and the team are off the dock at 1215.

It will be a quick race to Rio – we’ll see you there.


Pirates of the Caribbean

Date – 11 Feb 06

The day before the start of Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race, Anthony Merrington or Youngster as he is known onboard The Black Pearl, joined pro surfer Nathan Hedge at Bells Beach for an early morning surf.

Upon returning to Melbourne, the native Australian exclaimed ‘It’s every guys dream to get dropped off at Bells Beach by helicopter and surf a great break.

It was awesome!’.

All Photos by Oskar Kihlborg

We had a good run yesterday afternoon. 25-30 knots of wind and hit 34 knots as our top speed. Plenty of fun for the drivers as we surfed big waves off the west coast of the South Island. The Kiwi’s chirping got a little louder at first sight of the big mountains of the South Island.

Things have tightened up as we rounded Cape Farewell and all slowed down considerably due to light winds on the north side of the south island with the prevailing southerly gradient. We never came to a complete stop but had to make one drastic gybe out away from land to escape a hole right along the coast. Sailing along coasty lines at night is always tricky. Hard to know if there will be “night breeze” which is a wind that blows out offshore at night or weather it will be flat calm along a shore. We have stayed offshore a bit 10 miles plus just to try to insure that we don’t get becalmed. So far, so good. We have been moving the whole time.

Movistar caught ABN 1 shortly after rounding Cape Farewell. Maybe ABN got too close to the land at Cape Farewell and fell into a real light spot. We definitely noticed more pressure offshore there. Always tricky to know how tight to cut the corner.

The forecast for the next 12 hours is for light winds slowly shifting from the southeast to the north and dropping from 9 knots which we currently have to 4 knots by 000 UTC. If that is correct, it will be a slow last 60 miles. But that is just a forecast.

The boat is in pretty good shape all though we will have to do general maintenance while in Wellington and preparing for the tough leg to the Horn. We are not allowed and help from anyone while in port in Wellington unless we accept a 2 hour penalty on the restart on Sunday. So unless a boat has a major problem and needs outside help, I doubt anyone will be taking this penalty. This means the crews have to do all the clean up of the boat and all the repairs and maintenance themselves. It will be a busy couple of days.

I am waiting for the next position report in 35 minutes. We will see how well we have done here tonight sailing across the north tip of the South Island. It has been a beautiful and very pleasant moon lit night, clear skies and smooth water.

That is all for now.


Pirates of the Caribbean

First of all, Happy Valentines Day from all the Pirates to all their sweethearts! We got your cards today. Nice job organizing that ladies! We are thinking of you too!

We have been on starboard tack with the big spinnaker up for the past 24 hours which has made for some smooth and quick sailing. The wind speed has been between 20-30 knots for the past 8 hours.

We have a wind more to the west than we expected from our weather so we have had to gybe onto port just about an hour ago. This will let some pressure off Movistar but it is the right thing to do relative to the fleet. We wont be on this board long as we expect the wind to come back in from the SSW tonight. This little gybe will give us a good angle to Cape Farewell, which is the northwest tip of the South Island of New Zealand.

While this wind direction and subsequent gybe will let the pressure off Movistar, we have made nice gains on Brasil 1 and Ericsson today and this will let us consolidate.

Gybing in 27-30 knots is not a piece of cake with these boats so I was happy when we completed the first one without incident and now I am thinking about the one we will have to do in about 1.5 hours. Gybing involves first moving about 1.5 tones of sails and food and gear, some of it on centerline, some of it to leeward so it is to windward after the maneuver. When you go into the gybe, it is more difficult to keep you speed up because you have lost a lot of your righting moment. However, the alternative, leaving all the sails and gear stacked on the old windward side would be really bad if you broached in the gybe and all the gear ended up in the water. There would be a lot of damage and you would probably loose the sails and all the lifelines. So hopefully, we will have a nice little light spot when it is time to pull off the next one.

ABN AMRO ONE is just plain faster than the rest of us in these conditions. It has seemed that they had an edge for the past 24 hours but it was very apparent as they just sailed right by Movistar to take the lead and kept on going. Nice to have speed. It makes everything else easier… not finished, just easier.

We have 485 miles to Cape Farewell and then another 125 after that. We expect the wind to hold up pretty good tonight and tomorrow so we should be going around Cape Farwell before sunset tomorrow. Then into Cook Straight.

Not sure yet what we will have there but it doesn’t look like the 40-50 knots that were forecast when we started the leg so that is good.

Going to put some water on for dinner and then get the latest weather at 0600 GMT. We will probably gybe shortly after confirming the latest weather.

Have a nice day, especially all you Pirates ladies! And I mean all of them; the ones in Burbank, the ones in the Bahamas filming Dead Man’s Chest, all the Disney ladies all over the world, and all the ladies who work for all of our great partners. And even if I did not mention you, and you support some other team, I hope you have a great Valentines Day!


Pirates of the Caribbean

Finally found a bit of a grove here. We seem to have the correct sail up and our speed is good against Ericsson and ABN AMRO TWO, both of whom we can see.

It is only blowing 14 knots from 205 and we are all reaching on our big masthead reachers. The other bit of really good news is that we were able to sort out our problem with the bowsprit tack lines so no issue with being able to change from one spinnaker to another.

Last night we just could not seem to choose the correct sail for the conditions. The conditions were changing a bit on the back side of the front and we had a lot of trouble with all of our changes. Hopefully we can stay “in phase” with the wind and execute well from now on.

Everyone on the Pearl has pushed hard in the first 24 hours, staying on deck longer than the normal four hours to give a hand to sort things out. Today we are catching up on our sleep now that we have got things settled.

The forecast is off right now on wind speed… we have less. But tonight the forecast is for the wind to increase again to 25. Basically for the new three days, the forecast is pretty much the same, 17-25 knots from 200-210. That should make this a fairly fast trip, not record breaking but good.

Movistar sailed real well last night, probably not changing their spinnaker at all. Changes are costly especially if you pick the wrong one so the mantra of “if it aint broken, don’t fix it” applies here. The fleet is spread out a bit now with Brasil 1 20 miles north of us and Ericsson and ourselves in the south. The forecast of today doesn’t show much difference in wind between north and south. That could change.


Pirates of the Caribbean

Well, we had a great start and that made us all feel good for about 30 minutes. Then the wind died where we were and it all started to get weird.

It was a long day on Port Philip bay while we all waited for the sea breeze to fill. It finally did and we were well positioned for that being most west. We got going first and had the lead at Mornington with ABN AMRO ONE coming up fast. It did not take them long to pass us upwind in 22 knots of wind, both of us on J4’s and full mains. Meanwhile, Movistar, Ericsson and Brasil 1 were having a good battle just behind us.

When we got outside the entrance to the Bay, the wind was 24 knots and the sea was very rough. There were enough helicopters around to make four feature films so they must have gotten some good footage there.

Things progressed well from there with us and ABN AMRO ONE making some small gains on the group. Then, around 00:00 local time, we caught ABN AMRO ONE and they set a course to pass behind and to leeward of us. They eventually came back out in front by

Many of you who receive these updates are sailing enthusiasts who know the structure of this sport well. Since we formed the Pirates of the Caribbean team, we’ve reached out to a new audience who is not quite as familiar with sailing. For their benefit, I’d like to use this update to describe the function and significance of the other half of our Pirates of the Caribbean team who is rarely in the spotlight, but certainly deserves recognition.

While we have ten sailors who crew The Black Pearl, we also have 20 Pirates who encompass the shore team. As General Manager of the entire organization, my role is to ensure that both sides are in sync so that the ultimate goal-racing the boat in its best possible condition-is achieved. The shore team consists of the guys and girls who maintain The Black Pearl, fixing, rebuilding, and fine tuning her, who manage the logistics, information technology, shipping, clothing and gear, who set up our offices and infrastructure in each port and who then dismantle and pack it all away to be shipped in containers to the next. These, and a host of other tasks too numerous to write about here, are the responsibility of the shore crew. This is the “back office” of our entire organization comprised of a critical, necessary and very dedicated group of people who bring a wide variety of skills, knowledge and hard work to the table – normally the first ones to arrive at the base each day and the last to leave. That’s the shore team. All are sailors themselves and, like anyone involved in this sport and especially those who make a living out of it, share a passion for it.

Meet Gerardo Siciliano from Italy (or Gerry as we like to call him.) His main responsibilities as part of the Pirates of the Caribbean shore team include rigging, working on the dagger board and mast, and taking care of the ropes, among other things. The boats have more than 1,300 meters (4,265 ft.) of rope with more than 150 splices which must be checked or replaced at each stop over.

Gerry has been with the team since its inception and actually helped build the boat. He got into the sport out of a desire to travel around the world and 15 years later he has done just that. When asked what his favourite part of the job is, he responded, “Being with all the others, sharing this lifestyle and improving my knowledge of different cultures.” When asked what his least favourite aspect of the job is, he thought and then responded, “I really can’t think of anything.”

While every job in any industry has some areas that are less desirable than others, Gerry’s answer is very typical and representative of what you find in sailing – people who are in it because they love it and want to be in it.

Meet Martin Klug, or Martini as we like to call him – our IT guy, from Sweden. Martin is the epitome of a genuine multi-tasker. To sum up his job, there are three main responsibilities:

1) Prior to arriving at a port, he establishes the footprint of infrastructure needed from an operational perspective on the base. This usually entails a recon trip to the base prior to arrivals. Here he begins the planning of what the team will need to function efficiently including office space for the entire team, electricity, water, air-conditioning, phone and internet service, among other things.

2) Once the shore team arrives at the base, he needs to ensure that the infrastructure is up and running, that the trailers (offices as we like to call them) contain all the necessary, functioning elements such as printers, chairs, desks and office supplies.

3) When the boat arrives, he has to recheck the on board electronics to make sure everything is working up to par and he has to make good use of the incredible amount of data and raw product coming off the boat in the form of images and video footage and make that useful to our partners such as Disney and Pescanova. He also has to attend to all IT requests on a daily basis.

Martin is also there to do whatever else may be needed. That could include renting cars or making a trip to the super market as well as producing from scratch some of the best videos of the team sailing that he puts to great music. When asked what he finds most intriguing about his position, he said, “I really enjoy the challenge of setting up and breaking down the “travelling circus” from port to port. Establishing an infrastructure in Cape Town can be quite different from doing that in Melbourne, for example. You constantly learn and improve the system. I also thrive on the extraordinary circumstances. Organizing the flight of The Black Pearl from Portugal to Cape Town was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was harder and more logistically challenging than anyone could have imagined, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences ever.”

The responsibilities of Gerardo and Martin illustrate two diverse, yet critical roles in the shore team. There are many, many others who-when put together-make up the great team that we have called the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Curt Oetking – USA

Mike Danks – NZ

Vaughn Taylor – NZ

Robbie Young – USA

Charlie Coulborn – UK

Ross Monson – UK

Rikard Grunnan – USA

Murray Mc Donnell – USA

Gerry Siciliano – ITA

Craig Gurnell – NZ

Jeremy Smith – NZ

Andre Julius – SA

Martin Klug – SWE

Susan Mitton – IRL

Jennifer Hall – CAN

Mark Reihana – NZ

Jo Warren – NZ

Rob Myles – USA

Paula Satterthwaite – NZ

Tony Pohl – USA

Kimo Worthington

General Manager

Pirates of the Caribbean