Update from Valencia
My first stint with Desafio came to an end earlier this month. I was just getting comfortable with the boats and the team when it was time to return to California. My family is taking high priority right now, so although it was not ideal in terms of timing, it is important for me to be back at home for now.
I will return to Valencia next week, for two more weeks, to do what I can to help Desafio in their final preparations for the Louis Vuitton Cup. They are a good team and will certainly be in the thick of the battle.
Of course I can’t say much about exactly what we are working on except the obvious things that all teams are doing at this stage: refining the performance of the race boat, figuring out what makes the boat go better up range and down range, getting ready to be able to shift gears to match up to the performance of primary competitors once they are known, race testing all support teams, and just doing a lot of close racing in house to sharpen the instinctive reactions of all onboard.
There are some procedural things that have to be done in anticipation of the event. Measurement of the boats and sails is one and that has been done while I have been away.
One thing I think could throw a curve ball at some teams is the weather in April. April is still definitely spring and the previous racing in Valencia has never started this early. February was 15-20 knots 75% of the time. Most teams have designed their boats for 9-14 knots which is expected in June. But to get to June, you have to survive April and May. The competition is going to be tough. I think there will be a number of “upsets”. All this will mix up the results a bit more than expected and create some anxiety for the teams that are “supposed” to be there in May.
It will be fast and furious for six teams; the regatta will be a three week event for them. You only have to look at that reality to become extremely motivated.