Skipper Chris Nicholson has been following the race closely, most recently from the Newport stopover where he commentated on the in-port race and accompanied Vestas guests on sailing experiences.
Just arrived back at Persicso after being at the Newport stopover and what a great show case for the race it was. It really feels like the race has some great momentum now leading into Europe.
The re-build and now painting is all on track. It’s at the time now where we are able to get to some of the smaller jobs but with 1 design there are no grey areas as all the jobs have to done.
We are really trying hard to minimise the amount of small jobs in Lisbon. We have estimated three days of sailing before the leg start so any improvement on this ends up a huge percentage increase in sailing hours.
Thinking back to Newport, it was interesting seeing all the crews and also how fatigued some of the teams are looking. This is all normal for the teams but the thing to look out for is how well they appear as a team. In this regard, Abu Dhabi, Dongfeng and Mapfre look to be going well. It’s going to be no surprise to see Abu Dhabi stick like glue to Dongfeng during this leg which I think may give Mapfre a big opportunity.
We can almost smell Lisbon form here, it’s been a long road but finally now we are on our way. You never quite appreciate the racing enough until you are not there doing it. I cannot describe how keen this team is to get back into the racing!
So the clock counts down, the hills have gone from white to green as we've seen the seasons change in Nembro in the Italian Alps. The team's time here is coming to an end and Brian Carlin, our onboard reporter, is getting back into the swing of things:
"For the past five months I've been operating out of a 40ft container painted blue just like our VO65. Thankfully it's drier and warmer, it has a coffee machine (which I'm going to suggest for the next race we install, the extra weight would be worth it) alas it doesn't have sails or a keel. Not that the little issue of no sails stopped Coxy from erecting a bimini which at times made the container feel like it could fly (some adjustments for the next race I think).
The boat sits 100 metres away, bright blue! Dave and his team of painters have been spraying ocean blue all weekend and the finishing touches which make her gleam now. Reflections and reflecting. Trae and Salty are bound for Lisbon where they will meet the rig. Simeon arrives Wednesday and Tom will join us in Lisbon. I've admired Tom from his days with Puma so I'm keen to meet him in person, and Simeon's career with the America's Cup should be really interesting to hear about.
I spent some time below decks yesterday, and while is feels like a similar experience before it also feels completely new. I have a media desk again and the aft bunks exist! For sure we have had a different type of race on our hands and while I've not circumnavigated the globe, rounded Cape Horn or sailed the Southern Ocean it seems irrelevant now. The achievement is far greater for everyone one involved to get Big Blue back to the starting line in Lisbon. We've struggled on all levels and, don't be fooled, it's been the roughest road for all of us to climb, but now as we reach the summit of our challenge, it becomes obviously worth the effort.
Persico have played a key role to the evolution of this project on the ground here in Nembro. What's often not clear is the effort of the management from everyone linked to this race to re-join the race. It's easy to say now we have almost reach the goal but long days, months and meetings have been a relentless part of life for Morten, Nico, Mirella, TJ, Morten, Sally, Elena and the extended commercial team, Powerhouse and Volvo. The group resistance to make sure this project doesn't fail will come to fruition on Friday when the boat leaves for its final transit to Lisbon.
No doubt all of you will be there to support us for Leg 8!
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