We are in the middle of a work week on the boat. The mast is down, the keel is off and the boat is in the shed. The later fact has been a great move as it has been raining a lot this week. Following the 2000 miler and the trip to Holland and back, we got enough time in the boat to know what things we wanted to change. We lined up 14 boat builders from around the world, rented a shed, got the parts lined up and hit it hard last Thursday. Code name for the project is “Pimp my ride”. Special edition T-Shirts are being made. The boat should come out of the shed this weekend and we will start sailing on Monday.

We have 15 outside contractors working on the boat this week plus our own shore team. We have four boat builders from Switzerland who work on Alinghi, we call them the Ski Team, we have four guys from Green Marine in the UK, we have 3 guys from the USA, and 5 painters from England. All these guys do is work, eat, work, sleep and work. Mark Rehana has been taking good care of them with the food. This is proving once again to be a big plus to have not just an inhouse cook but to have Mark Rehana and his able assistant, Jo. They are simply the best!

Three of our competitors are also working on their boats this week. Both ABN boats and Ericsson are out of the water. Brasil 1 arrived today from their training base in Portugal. Volvo event management is setting up the erace village near the club. Things are heating up in Sanxenxo.

Last weekend Disney Italy and I went to the Genoa Boat Show and presented the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Black Pearl to the Italian media. The conference was moderated by Guilio Guazini, the RIA commentator who covers sailing for them. RAI, has bought the rights to the Volvo Ocean Race for Italy. The Italian public are big fans of sailing and it seems there was a lot of interest in the Pirates of the Caribbean. We also announced our Italian Official Suppliers, Ermenegildo Zegna and Gottifredi Maffioli. Zegna is providing us with our formal attire and this continues a long relationship I have had with the high quality fashion house from Milan. Gottifredi Maffioli is number one in the world of ropes and high tech fibers for racing sailboats and there are making some custom ropes for us. Both are very enthusiastic and looking forward to a great partnership with Pirates.

On Friday, October 14, a big event is taking place in my home town and in fact in the St. Francis Yacht Club. The America’s Cup Hall of Fame will induct three new members; Fritz Jewett, Jack Sutphen and Alan Payne. Fritz Jewett was the Chairman of many successful America’s Cup campaigns over a 30 year time frame. Most noteably, the 1980 Freedom campaign and the 1987 Stars and Stripes campaign, both very defining campaigns for Dennis Conner. Coincidentally, Jack Sutphen also served a key role in those campaigns as trial horse helmsman. In 2000 , Fritz served as Chairman of my AmericaOne campaign. I am not sure if this induction is long over due but I am sure it is fully merited. Sport is full of winners but few are the winners who have integrity, live up to their commitments, maintain strong and positive leadership in times of adversity, possess genuine compassion for their team mates, all the while competing with the utmost intensity and commitment in the pursuit of the goal. Congratulations Fritz!

There isn’t much time left to the start of this big adventure. Measurement procedures start this Saturday with a draw to allocate the measurement slots. We are planning to do some more training next week, look at race sails, study the weather with our meteorologist, Jean Yves Bernot and eat and sleep. We have some madatory saftey courses to take, media training and a few hospitality events. For sure, no one is bored around here.

All is well in the Pirate family.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean