All set to go, all 'plates' spinning!
Thu, 20 Sep 12 10:14
Flights to Walvis Bay are booked for Friday. Two of us will head down ahead of the rest of the team to get the base set up at the Walvis Bay Yacht Club. We have to find accomodation and get the transport sorted out and of course we have to get VESTAS Sailrocket 2 fully rigged and ready in anticipation of her new foils arriving a week later.
Meanwhile back in the UK, Helena will be running around picking up all the extra pieces including the new foil which has to come down as 'sports equipment' on the plane. It's not a small or light piece. It will probably weigh around 30 kg and is a big 'L' shape. We have to juggle our luggage allowances carefully. I think I have all the bits and pieces we need but there will no doubt be some issues that I discover once in Walvis that Helena will need to fix from UK shores i.e. specialist glues have gone bad or rubber seals for the drysuits have perished etc.
Dan Emuss from Independent Composites in Bristol is building the new foil and has been working through the weekends to get it ready ASAP. Appreciated Dan. The boys at COSWORTH are working through the electronic and data logging system and we hope to be able to log vapour/air cavity pressures down the back of the new foils at high speed during our runs. New cameras are on the way and the MUSTO clothing has all arrived and is being branded.
We have come across a company called FORMAPLEX just north of Portsmouth who machined the moulds for our new foil. I was so impressed by both their facilities and service that we got them to machine a complete new rudder, stock and set of pintels for us. I have no reason to promote this company other than for the simple fact that they deserve it. Good service is not that hard to deliver. It's not magic. You simply have to tell people what you can deliver and when... and then communicate clearly throughout the process if any issues arrive. If you really know your product then you will hit your mark and if not, communicate the issues ASAP so both sides can adapt ASAP. Simple. It never ceases to amaze me how many people/companies get this basic process wrong. It's always a pleasure to work with companies that understand and operate by these basics. FORMAPLEX have grow rapidly over the past 11 years and now CNC parts for every F1 team except Ferrari... and that's only a small part of what they do. I really appreciate the personal touch they can still give to small jobs like ours. I didn't expect it.
So, we will arrive in Walvis Bay right as Walvis Bay Speed Week kicks off. It will be great to see 'Speed-spot' buzzing again. Nice work Hennie Bredenkamp. It's an awesome speed sailing location that deserves to be used for events like this. It will be great to share VSR2 with many of the speed sailing sports real guns. The last time many of them saw us was with VSR1 when we were struggling badly to even hit 40 knots. I remember walking back from The Raft bar after sitting next to Finian Maynard listening to him recount when he set the then current world record in the French Trench. I walked back in the cold, windy night to the container where Helena and I were staying just buzzing. I walked quickly, talking to myself "Oneday Larsen. Oneday you will be telling that story".
In that last event many of the future record holders were present. Albeau, Cattelan, Caizergues... they all kept raising the bar and we keep chasing. I would like to think that when they see us this time, they will appreciate what they are looking at. It's not just the boat... it's how and why it is even there. It's what is behind it that will determine the outcome.
The first time I windsurfed down that magical mile was unforgettable. I knew we had found our spot and that this was where the magic would happen. people often ask why we go down there and offer up other potential places. the fact is that we don't need another place. If we can't do it there, we can't do it. It's up to us to come up to the standard of what is on offer because what is on offer is pure class. There are some not-so-good days there for sure but I know that if wehave done our homework and are well prepared that we will get some perfect days in these coming months. Walvis Bay will become the perfect football pitch or center court for our endeavour and what unfolds after that will be all up to the players.
So there is a lot going on in VESTAS Sailrocket land. The rudders are being machined as I write and the AEROTROPE design team are inspecting the new foil build up in Bristol right now. In two weeks they should have already been down the Walvis Bay course at high speed. It's all happening.
On another note, we have been up at the VESTAS R+D facilities preparing the 'old girl', VSR1 to hang up in the main foyer of the R+D facilities. I'm so glad that she is getting put on display in such a great way. She will look amazing hung up in that atrium for all to see.
VSR1 SITTING IN THE MAIN FOYER OF VESTAS R+D FACILITIES ON THE ISLE OF WIGHT. SHE WILL SHORTLY BE SUSPENDED FROM THE CEILING FULLY RIGGED.
It's a real pleasure for me to go and assemble her again. She's all still intact and could go sailing again in short time if she had to. She did good.
Ok, so that's about it. I'll speak to you all from the other side.