By John Milsom
August 2016 saw Maverick participate in the 2016 Palermo to Montecarlo offshore race. Just under 500 miles of largely uphill sailing in winds ranging from 0 to 35 knots saw Maverick put through her paces in a wide variety of conditions as she tracked roughly North West between Sardinia and Corsica en route from Sicily to the Cote de Azur.
Maverick is challenging the norm in more ways than one. From a design perspective she is the first of a new breed, the Infiniti 46, featuring extendable foiling wings that add stability and speed. State of the art just doesn't do her justice. The philosophy that underpins Maverick is also equally novel. Skipper Olly Cotterell is working hard to build a flexible team that will grow together and support sustained performance as the program builds towards 2017. Within this the skipper has prioritised the recruitment of crew based on their values and willingness to work as a team as well as sailing experience. This means that he has looked for new talent rather headhunting crew in traditional or obvious places.
There is also a strong emphasis on learning and continuous improvement evident aboard, and this also flows from the top. Everyone is expected to contribute to a shared understanding of how to get the best out of the DSS (Dynamic Stability System) wings and other systems in order to accelerate development both of the boat and crew. It is all about learning and performance at this stage. There are no egos, everyone mucks in and ensures that the boat comes first.
Achieving fourth place over the line in just her second race was a fantastic result and puts the program well ahead of schedule. Maverick is still very much in the commissioning phase of her development and this performance saw her push larger and more establish yachts hard. Fourth place over the line earned a spot parked up next to the 88 foot Maxi yacht Rambler at race finish in the prestigious Marina de Monaco. You know when you have arrived when pristinely dressed marina staff appear and start relocating pontoon cleats as you slide up to take your mooring!
Maverick's performance in this race also provides significant grounds for optimism. Despite experiencing a number of teething problems she provided glimpses of her full potential. As well as her boat speed exceeding wind speed for significant periods, Maverick cut loose at 21.8 knots while reaching in around 25 knots of true wind on the beam through the straights of Bonifacio. At this point in the race Maverick felt exactly like the high tech, high power carbon surfboard that she is, capitalising on the lift from her foils to truly 'ride the waves' in a way no other offshore monohull is capable of. Make no mistake about it, Team Maverick is on the rise and it's going to be an exciting journey.
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