Friday, October 30, 2009


It was only the first day, after having been onshore for five weeks undergoing significant performance enhancing modifications. And the wind was very light, rarely exceeding six or seven knots. And, for most of the day, the team performed largely mundane, but crucial tests, in the long, rolling, Pacific swell.

But towards the end of the day's session, the sheets were hardened, the sails trimmed in and helmsman James Spithill turned the bows towards the wind. And wow!

It certainly doesn't take much to make this boat move - fast. Until today, I'd only seen the BOR 90 on the water through the photography of Gilles Martin-Raget. And as great a photographer as Gilles is (and he certainly is), pictures don't completely do justice to this boat, which today, to my eye, always appeared to be straining at the leash, begging to be set free to run.

As I mentioned off the top, this was a preliminary testing session, and the team wasn't looking to set the world on fire. But in the puffs, on this day, you could tell you were looking at a boat with a lot being held in reserve.

For the record, on the testing session, design team coordinator Ian 'Fresh' Burns proclaimed himself satisfied with what the team accomplished on the day.

"The engine worked beautifully, the winches were spinning around, everything went well. We put some new sails up and down and tried the new systems on the boat and just about everything passed the test.

"It was a nice day. It was a rougher sea state, which wasn't ideal and posed some challenges, but the wind was light and we could pretty much pick our windspeed for the different things we had to do.

"For the rest of the week we'll keep working up the load scale, finding more and more wind to sail in as we keep working on getting ourselves race ready."

UPDATE: See a new YouTube video, including footage from Thursday's testing session.