Kees Postma RORC Transatlantic blog: Day 8

Kees Postma RORC Transatlantic blog: Day 8

“WE'RE ALMOST THERE!”

...is what we would have been saying on the 8th day, had this been an Atlantic crossing anywhere close to what we had hoped for. Instead, as I write this, we are 1,320 miles from Lanzarote and 1,567 miles from Grenada. Not quite halfway there in distance, but hopefully halfway there in elapsed time. Having said that, we are all starting to question this mythical phenomenon called “the trade winds.”

Although it is thankfully quite overcast at the moment, temperatures inside the carbon oven are starting to rise and during daytime off watches it is more comfortable to try and snooze on deck with some music in than really trying to sleep below deck.

My mission this off watch is to do an inventory of our Expedition foods freeze dried meals as we are getting a little concerned about how much is left now that the race is taking so long. We are definitely not going to starve, but better to start rationing now if we need to.

A massive well done to Olly and Eric for troubleshooting and finding a fix for the hydraulics as without this our result would suffer tremendously. Never has the deafening sound of the hydraulics powerpack sounded so sweet.

I had a great birthday on board yesterday thanks to many repeated birthday wishes from all the crew as I went on and off watch throughout the day, a stack of birthday cards, and a new Leatherman multi-tool from my wonderful girlfriend. Thanks to all!

Off to count some freeze dried!

Hakuna Matata

Kees

Skipper Olly RORC Transatlantic Race blog: Day 8

Skipper Olly RORC Transatlantic Race blog: Day 8

Good Morning Team Maverick fans,

A little update for you...

I did some maintenance on the alternator this morning. The belt had been slipping and we were not getting the full 80Amp charge so were having to charge for longer. This uses valuable fuel and makes down below much hotter. An easy fix to get moral in the right direction because last night we lost hydraulic power.

The problem is not with the aforementioned hydraulic levels they are fine. It is a problem with the power pack. It seems the system thinks that the power pack (electric motor that drives the hydraulics) is overheating (even though it is not). There is a switch to bypass this safety feature but this does not seem to be solving our problem..

We have tried lots of things and are working on work around but the truth is if I do not fix this then we will not have hydraulic functionality for the rest of the race, this would drastically affect our performance on the water.

I am going to go back to volt meters and wrenches but will keep you updated.

Otherwise all is well on board and we had a good night in that we managed to keep moving in very light and fickle winds. Today the words of Samuel Beckett seem pertinent

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail again better."

Olly

Photo credit: Hannah Cotterell Media

Sean McCarter RORC Transatlantic race blog: Day 7

Sean McCarter RORC Transatlantic race blog: Day 7

Sean RORC Transatlantic Race blog: Day 7

Somewherein the middle of the Atlantic...

All's well on the good ship Maverick. We're celebrating another birthday today with Kees turning 42 yrs old. Had our fellow crew Nikki been here, a third would have followed.. Hope you're on the mend Nikki and enjoy the luxuries of a birthday ashore.

I'm sure it's been mentioned in a past blog but our antics a few days ago were absolutely phenonemal! In 22-24 kts of breeze, we were hurtling along at a steady 17-21 kts maxing out at over 23 kts. I've experienced these types of speeds before but never so easily sustained. For hours on end we were like a little carbon pinball, careering through a somewhat bumpy machine!

We are well and truly in our routine now; wake up, rehydrate a bag of granola and rasberries, pull on some wet gear, get on deck for a 3-hr watch. Come off watch, rehydrate some lunch (1000 calorie bag of sweet and sour chicken today) and try and get a quick siesta before next watch. This continues relentlessly through sunsets, sunrises, sails go up, sails go down, trim on and ease. Every so often we catch a glimpse of the Nav computer and get reminded of the scale of the Atlantic...roll on!

Sean

Skipper Olly RORC Transatlantic blog: Day 7

Skipper Olly RORC Transatlantic blog: Day 7

Good Morning Team Maverick Fans,

Some fun facts about Maverick:

  • Length 14.1m waterline
  • Max beam 3.9m
  • Weight approx 5300kg
  • Max speed achieved sailing 27kts (25kts at 110true)
  • Engine 40hp
  • Max motoring speed 8kts
  • Fuel capacity 70L
  • Range under engine 140nm
  • Water Capacity 60L (two tanks)
  • Watermaker 6L an Hour at 6 amps draw
  • Battery bank 150AH
  • Cooking facilities 1x "jet boil"
  • Toilet facilities ............ like "wild camping"

As I look at the above and at the race track with the yachts we are trying to hunt down / hold off I am thinking that we are sharing the same part of the ocean but having very different experiences. The cost of having a 46ft yacht that will keep up with yachts twice her size is the loss of any sort of luxury. The meal plan on Stay Calm and Maverick will be very different.

Today we moved from the JT/ GS combo in the morning to a J1. Unfortunately the wind backed (even though it was not forecast to). It has been slowly veering and easing as the day has gone on so we went back to a JT/GS and are now on our M0.

We expect tonight and tomorrow to be slow as the wind eases further as we push into a transitional zone (weak ridge before popping out in the trades on the other side). We are all very much looking forward to this and the increased progress this should entail.

As I have mentioned these light (but not too light) conditions favour the yachts with the longer waterline. We are working hard to keep in touch with Aragon and stay ahead of Stay Calm. We are hopeful that if the trades are strong enough on the other side we might get some foiling conditions that could see us start to make some ground on the front runners.

I must say that this yacht is fantastic, we still have so much to learn about her and this time at sea is really helping. We are very much experimenting with different combinations to see what's fast. I can't complain too much as we are currently doing 1.5-2 kts over true wind speed in a 46 ft yacht.

In other news I have used the calm settled dry weather to give the yacht a good clean out. We got all the interior on deck (4 self inflating mattresses and 4 sleeping bags) we then got everything dry and anti-bacterial sprayed the interior. It is currently drying out. We will also leach flake the jibs for compact storage in the hope that we won't be seeing them again after tonight!

Life on board is good at the moment and we celebrated Kees Postma's birthday today. We all had a tot of Westerhall Rum to celebrate.

The wildlife front has been rather disappointing but we are definitely in flying fish grounds now with a few strikes on the hull lastnight.

"Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure." Bob bitchen

Olly Out...

Piers-Hugh Smith RORC Transatlantic blog: Day 6

Piers-Hugh Smith RORC Transatlantic blog: Day 6

Greetings friends,

The first week at sea is nearly at a close, and the next week looms over the horizon as we continue our race at a combination of breakneck and not so breakneck speeds. For any of those who remember my last blog, my eye infection does seems to be passing, but has been swiftly replaced with a secondary infection, so as not to upset the status quo, it seems. However, with a kaleidoscopeof 4 different drugs coursing through my system, I am beating that too, slowly. This predicament also gives me the dubious award of probably being the highest sailor in the race right now. Fun.

We've had some pretty epic foiling conditions recently, and possibly the most fun i've ever had on this boat, foiling at 23 knts in pitch dark, screaming through waves with so much spray that if there was any visibility we wouldn't be able to see a thing! It is indescribable, but the experience must be akin to driving a go kart down a waterslide in the middle of the night.

A couple shoutouts this week too,  namely to Ropeye and the chaps at Spabond for making some really strong stuff! Sleeping beneath the straining lee cloth containtng Sean's overhanging arse, I was worried I would get the full Irish if anything gave way, luckily it all held and I live to tell the tale. A sport for the claustrophobic, this is not.

Anyway, that's all from me today. I have some fitful sleep and questionable freeze dried to get excited about.

TTFN,

Piers

Skipper Olly RORC Transatlantic blog: Day 6

Skipper Olly RORC Transatlantic blog: Day 6

Good Morning team Maverick Fans!

Welcome to day 6.Apologies that there was no blog on Day 5 but we had a bit on. The sailing went relatively to plan as per my blog on day 4. We continued to head west and the breeze built as the afternoon went on and veered onto our beam. We moved through the wardrobe untill we ended upon the Jib top Genoa Staysail combo (one of our favorites on the yacht) as the wind built so did the boat speeds until we were regularly sitting in the high teens low 20's of boat speed. It was still light but I was below trying toget some sleep. I knew that I would have to pilot the yacht in the pitch dark of night.

Just before dusk we played with a few sail settings (reefs etc) to try and find the optimum. Strangely we took too much sail off and the yacht lost her dynamic stability and we could not make good progress. This meant we returned to one reef and got ready.

I have never had an experience like this. Regardless of the outcome of this race (which I am still hopeful will be a good one) helming a 46 ft yacht at regular speeds in excess of 20 kts at night with no moon, no stars and no horizon in short sharp seas was a phenomenal experience. All I could see was the green and red hugh of the navlights as it light up the huge amounts of spray.

I must say thanks to Ocean Rodeo for the dry suits. They were fantastic in the supremely wet conditions and I have been living in mine for the last few days.

Too the now. We eventually (sooner than we hoped) had to stop foiling ad go into an upwind mode as the wind veered further ahead of the front. This was forcing us north but we held our nerve and in the early morning the front went through with 34 kts of wind as its peak wind speed. Soon after we tacked over onto the other board to start heading south. Initially we were again in an upwind mode but have been slowly freed (too slowly) as the wind continues to veer. Unfortunately the wind we are now experiencing is a bit less than we hoped for and we cant quite keep Maverick on the foil. It is ossilating between 10 and 14 kts. This is not ideal as we need to foil in order to compete with the much larger yachts. We also need to make good progress south before the large developing high pressure makes things too flat.

The likelihood is that we will need to work through a transition zone sometime tomorrow and we will finally be in the trades (although weak ones).

In other news Piers seems to be reacting well to the cocktail of medication I have given him (other than falling over on the bow a lot,). And this may seem funny but as theHydraulic oil levels are falling more slowly as we use the keel less and Sean had a nice birthday. We have another birthday soon with Mr. Kees Postma having his first birthday at sea.

Down below is in pretty good shape but I am looking forward to conditions that will allow us to dry down below out. The sails collect a huge amount of water and we have to live with them down below. I'm just about to go and help Kees bail. As this yacht has no bilges if you do not bail out the water you get to live in it. Not condusive to a comfortable crossing!

I have only just discovered the Expeditions foods Custard and Apple and Beef Strogonoff. They are fantastic.

Anyway that is all for now peeps....

"When I'm old, i plan to look back on my life and say, 'wow, that was an adventure,' not, 'wow, I sure felt safe," Tom preston-werner

Olly Out....

Kees Postma RORC Transatlantic Race blog: Day 5

Kees Postma RORC Transatlantic Race blog: Day 5

Hello world!

Kees here, bringing you the latest from rocketship Maverick. As I sit here in Eric's office, the guys on deck are foiling at 18 kts of boat speed in 16 knots of wind. Finally we get a chance to use this boat like it was meant to!

After a few days of straightforward sailing today has been an eventful day. We started the day with the Masthead Zero, then changed to the A2 for better downwind VMG. Now we are cycling through our sail wardrobe as the breeze is shifting forward and building. We've seen the Fractional Zero for a few hours, right now its the Jib Top and Genoa Staysail combination, and sometime tonight it will be the J2 which is ready to go on deck. Hopefully these conditions will allow us to make some gains on Aragon and Leopard before we're back to a bit of upwind sailing.

Today is also Sean McCarter's birthday! He failed to mention this to any of us but fortunately Skipper Olly got a reminder email. We all celebrated with a swig of rum and the birthday boy had a 1000 calorie Chicken Korma for his birthday lunch. What more can a man wish for!

Last night we saw an enormous piece of space junk that made its way into the atmosphere, we think no more than 50 miles away. It lit up the whole boat and lasted for a number of seconds. We concluded that in space terms this classifies as a near miss and we are now space junk survivors.

After so many days, weeks, months of working on this yacht it is nice to get the chance to enjoy and learn her for more than just two or three days at a time.

Thanks for reading, Kees out.

Piers Hugh-Smith RORC Transatlantic Blog Day 4

Piers Hugh-Smith RORC Transatlantic Blog Day 4

"You can take maverick out of the med but you can't take the med out of maverick"

Day 4 in the Atlantic, brought to you by bowman Piers.

Nothing is ever typical on maverick, including, it seems, the weather. A traditional transat this is not. The weather remains light and fickle, and we are making gentle progress across the ocean, keeping in touch with our larger competitors, but not quite at the furious 20knots we were promised! Having said that, the noise on deck indicates that our recent change to the jib top is reaping rewards and we may be seeing speeds greater than 10knots. though it could just be my imagination.

The outlook is set to improve, I'm informed by Eric, which I am certainly looking forward to as these first 4 days have been challenging. I've been suffering from a reasonably bad and exceptionally painful eye infection, which is making the daily routine of sleep, trimming, drving and eating all that little bit harder. It does seem to be improving though, as today I am able to open my right eye.

Anyway, looking at the positives, the weather is set to improve daily and we are always making good ground on the fleet, and toward Grenada.

thanks for reading,

Piers

Skipper Olly RORC Transat blog Day 4

Skipper Olly RORC Transat blog Day 4

Day 4
27 57.6N
024 57.1W
16:53 UTC

Good evening Team Maverick fans,

I hope this blog finds you well. We are truly settled on the yacht now. The watch systems are working, the hot bunking system is operating flawlessly and the miles toward Grenada are finally falling. We have elected to take a westerly route. We are pushing west in th hope of pushing through a weak cold front the day after tomorrow or so. This should bring with it a significant wind shift allowing us to start making some decent southing.

The trip has not been without its work. There was a hydraulic lock on the watermaker that i had to figure out. The good news is that it all seems to be working very well at the moment. Our hydro generator was also not working properly. This was a tad worrying as we only have 70L of fuel on board. We managed to "Power Cycle" the system and this seemed to reset its brain. This means today the hydro generator successfully charged the yacht while we were doing 10 kts under the M0 (Masthead Zero). The next issues was that I noticed that we were low on hydraulic oil (it had dropped in the reservoir located in the galley) this was not the case when we left port. After inspecting everything I found that there was a large leak from the keel ram. Unfortunately it appears the leak is from a hose connection that is not accessible unless you take the ram off the keel. (not possible at sea). Now because this is a race boat and weight matters the reservoir is very small. I am not 100% sure that we will make it to Grenada before the reservoir and our spare run out. This is not a safety issue as we can lock our keel in the center before this occurs. However it would be very poor for our racing performance so we have put a sock around where we believe the leak is in the hope of collecting the oil to recycle it and thus not have an issue. The final thing on my to do list today is to get at the alternator and tighten the belt. Our very powerful alternator puts a lot of pressure on the belt but currently the boat is being pushed to the edge so I am waiting for the wind to ease a little before I start this task.

Sailing wise it has been great. The wind has been more temperamental both in strength and direction than you would expect in this part of the ocean. We are regularly seeing big shifts of 30deg or so. This is keeping the crew on our feet. It is tough at night as there is no moon and no horizon so it requires a lot of concentration.

In terms of wildlife we have seen the odd bird but not a lot else. I think I saw a whale and we had a few spotted dolphins on the bow yesterday. We are obviously hoping to see more over the course of the trip.

Anyway I am going to sign off. I am going to cook chicken Korma on the Jet Boil then get some rest..

"If you have a dream persistence is the vehicle that will get you there, nothing worth doing is easy or it would have been done before"

Olly Out....

Navigator Eric Holden's RORC Transat Blog: Day 3

Navigator Eric Holden's RORC Transat Blog: Day 3

Day 3 Blog

Conditions have been pretty gentle today with winds of 5-10 kts and a light northerly swell. This has allowed us to chase down some gremlins in the boat systems. We have an oil leak in the hydraulic system, air is getting into the watermaker plumbing, and we're getting about half the expected output from the hydrogenerator. Earlier we fixed an electrical fault in the bilge pumps and boat instruments. The watermaker is behaving again and we're monitoring the other problems which aren't critical at this stage.

With the weather as benign as it currently is, the team is asking when we might see the trade winds. I hesitate to answer as it looks like we're stuck with what we've got for the next few days. This is not really the conditions that suit us over the larger boats but as we're still making progress and sailing a couple knots above the wind speed we don't have much to complain about.

A nice perk in these conditions is that we're all getting plenty of rest while the boat glides along gently. This is a treat as when she gets moving she is noisy and rough, and sleep only gets easy once exhaustion sets in.

Until later....Eric

Sean McCarter RORC transat crew blog Day 3

Sean McCarter RORC transat crew blog Day 3

Good morning sports fans!

Team Maverick are well underway in this years RORC Transatlantic race. To be totally honest, it wasn't the start we were looking for with almost 24hrs upwind. Some of the bigger yachts are definitely better suited to punching through short, steep seas than our 5.5 tonne flyer.

At lunchtime today, we finally hoisted the first kite of the race and have been sitting comfortably between 12-17 kts (in similar wind speed) making good use of our DSS foil.

It's hard to complain; blasting into the sunset, impressive volcanic-backdrop of La Gomera to port and a delicious bag of Expeditions finest freeze-dried Spaghetti Bolognaise......

(big gap in typing...... as Sean gets called on-deck)

Sorry about that. As I was writing this I must have jinxed us as the wind shadow reached out from La Palma to grab us. We are all good after some quick crew work we are back in the gradient wind and making good boat speeds.

Anyway I have been up now for three watches so am going to sign off.

PS Can someone tell me how much Ireland beat Australia by?

Sean McCarter out...

Maverick RORC Transat skipper blog: Day 3

Maverick RORC Transat skipper blog: Day 3

Good Morning Team Maverick Fans!

Day 3 08:40 UTC

Firstly let me apologies that this is the first time we are checking in. As you will gather from this blog the race has been reasonably challenging thus far.

Next we would like to send our love to Nikki Curwen who had to step off the boat at the last minute for medical reasons. She put in a huge amount of work shoreside to make this journey possible and we are all thinking of her.

Our start was good. We hit the line soon after the gun with our GS (Genoa Staysail) and JT (Jib top) we did think it strange that everyone else had elected for a J1. Things were to become a little clearer. Most of the fleet were pushing inshore... It soon became apparent why, there was a mark inshore off Puerto Del Carmen. Whoops somehow we missed this in our planning... Thus having having sailed lower than the rest of the fleet we had given them all a lot of time on the course and we made the long tack inshore to round the mark.

Mistakes happen its how you deal with them that counts. As a team we focused on working our way back through the fleet. Luckily the mistake was realised early enough so that the consequences were not too bad. We rounded the mark just after Pata Negra and soon were working our way back toward the head of the fleet.

As we left the lea of Lanzarote we changed to a J2 and full main combination for what would be a 200nm beat upwind. This was NOT in the brochure. This is the toughest point of sail for a crew just putting to sea and there were one or two who were suffering the effects of the green monster but pushing through.

Anyone who knows the yacht also knows that this is our least effective point of sail in terms of rating. We have a strong rating but a small waterline so upwind into a short sharp chop does not suit us at all. However as I write this our navigator Eric is happy with our position in the fleet and is confident we will see more of “our” conditions.

Another unexpected feature has been the squalls. I think it is fair to say that this race is not occurring in a “traditional” Atlantic weather pattern. Usually you get at least a few after leaving before you need to worry about squalls. We we have been getting them from day 1!

Usually I am used to having a RADAR. This is a very useful tool for plotting the movement of squalls and it gives you an idea of their size and potential intensity. Unfortunately as is the case of many yachts this size we do not have it so we rely on the Mark 1 eyeball. This is made all the more tricky at night as there will not be a good moon for this race.

Anyway we have been hit by numerous squalls. We have seen 36 kts of wind in the strongest what we call “givers” and 0 kts what we call “takers”. We have sat wallowing after one but went foiling at 17 kts during another., you really never can tell! One thing is for sure though. squalls mean crew work and as a result we have already used nearly every sail in our wardrobe already! The crew have been working really hard and I am certain I can count on that continuing.

Anyway I am due on watch. The crew are well and moral is good. We are currently in great conditions making good progress under our M0. We expect the wind to ease over the course of the morning as we push westwards.

“A climb to the top of a mountain no matter how large starts with the decision to take the first step”

Olly out...

Skipper blog November 18th

Skipper blog November 18th

Dear team Maverick fans,

I hope this blog finds you well. As I write this we are doing 16-17 kts in the Atlantic. We finally Got Maverick into her first ocean. This is what she was truly designed for.

Now I could tell you about lots of things, such as how in delivery mode we have hit 25 kts, or talk about the glorious sunsets we have had. But on this occasion I won't.

You see many back home think that this "yachting" job is all very glamorous. (This recently has not been helped by being based in St Tropez) it is not! Maverick is a stripped out race machine, so stripped out even that people from Volvo 70's have said "wow that is a very stripped out yacht".

This means all of our meals are freeze dried as we have no refrigeration. To cook these we have one "jet boil" that boils the water for us. There are no showers,  sinks or anything of the kind. We "hot bunk" apart from there are no bunks (that would be too heavy) so we use camping mats on the bare hull. To keep weight down there are no floor boards so keeping anything dry is a challenge.....etc. etc. I hope you get the idea.

The day to day business of "doing your business" is extremely difficult on board. So much so that in all of our racing and deliveries this is the first time that I have had to use Maverick'sfacilities. These extensive facilities consist of a bucket and a biodegradable bag. I can assume you get the idea from here? However to make matters more interesting the only real place on board for any "privacy" is the bow near the foil cases. I now imagine the vessel is doing 15-20 kts over an Atlantic swell. The experience is akin to getting drunk on tequila then being dared by a mate to sit on a bucket that is placed on top of the bar's mechanical rodeo machine. A challenge that has potentially disastrous repercussions if it goes wrong. Well on this trip we managed to make the challenge even harder, you see as with any yacht that goes this quickly she puts a lot of water over the deck. Some of this water inevitably ends up down below. This means that anything of importance that needs to be kept dry is kept in a dry bag. I bought a very bright blue dry bag for a very specific purpose (it had a very important job) it was to keep the toilet paper and associated supplies dry. This dry bag was carefully labeled and stored in a dry area of the yacht. it turns out however that a dry bag is only as dry as the huge hole that is left in it when it is left open! Yes ladies and gentlemen the yacht's supply of essential sanitary supplies are gone because SOMEONE left the bag open and and on the floor... Its a good thing Team Maverick run a no blame culture!

So at the moment there is a strong incentive for the delivery to happen quickly. Light winds are forecast further down the track so we will be using the motor. ETA at the moment looks like the evening of the 19th early on the 20th.

"Don't leave the toilet paper dry bag open!!!" Oliver Cotterell 2016

Olly out..

Skipper blog update 17th November

Skipper blog update 17th November

Hello Team Maverick fans!

Well we are making good progress. Things are going well. We are in the Atlantic!!

It is starting to warm up which is nice as a few of the crew myself included had everything we owned on and were getting cold after a watch. Efficient packing I say!

Last night we passed though the straits of Gibraltar. We pulled the foils in as we were afraid of debris which we would not be able to see.  We ran under a reefed main and GS (Genoa Staysail). The conservative sail plan meant we navigated the strait with ease, known for its orographic channeling of the wind. However our premonition of the debris was correct. We had at least three rudder strikes and a keel strike.

There has been some minor damage to the rudder top plate but we will know more when we can inspect the underside of the yacht in Lanza. If the weather permits I might dive on the hull later in the trip.

Other than that all is well on board with he watches ticking through and the miles falling. We will have lots to do in Lanza so getting in a few days early is going to be welcome..

Oh yeah last night we had a GREEN FLASH!!!

"The regrets a person most has are those they did not commit when they had the opportunity"

Olly Out

Maverick skipper blog update 15th November

Maverick skipper blog update 15th November

Good Morning Team Maverick Fans,

We are making good progress under "Iron Mainsail tonight" the moon is very large making the evening watch pleasant in the cool Mediterranean  air. Turns out with world events there is plenty to talk about.... I dropped the "Trump........... discuss" early doors in the watch.

The Palma stopover has been hectic. There was a lot to get done and the repair to the "Universal Joint" in the prop shaft was an unexpected occurrence from the Malta Palma delivery. Unfortunately this cost the team approximately three days of work.

The good news is that most of the important parts of "the list" have been dealt with and if the delivery proves to be fast we should get into Lanzarote (or Lanza as Nikki likes to call it) in good time. We aim to have Maverick at her best for the RORC Transatlantic Race but still have some work to do.

We have a good delivery crew on board with Archie Willis (normally full time on Ranger), Eric Holden, the wonderful Katherine Knight, Edoardo Bianchi (normally the Mate for Sean MCcarter) the delectable Nikki Curwen and myself.

We sent Kees ashore to be shore support and make sure that he arrives in Lanza with all the bits and bobs we might need!

It looks like the wind is going to fill in from the NE around midday tomorrow. We should be well past Ibiza and are hoping that this will give us a good push.

The Med rightly has a reputation for having too much wind or not enough. We are trying to get west as it is likely to be a bit less windy when it does arrive. We are all hoping that the GRIBS are accurate and we don't have one last big Med blow. It will be nice to turn off the engine as there is no insulation in the boat (too heavy) so it is very loud and hot!

Thanks as ever for all the support. I am heading back up on deck away from the racket of the engine to enjoy the rest of my watch.

Tonight I'd like to give a shout out to my Aunty Lindy and Aunty Sandy who will be watching our progress on the Yellow Brick!!

"Just keep swimming" Dory Finding Nemo....

Oliver Cotterell (Skipper)

Experiencing foiling for the first time...

Experiencing foiling for the first time...

Joining us for a delivery Hannah Diamond talks foiling for the first time and all things Maverick!

A few hours after landing from my own Middle Sea Race Experience I was hurriedly re-packing my bag to head back out to Malta to deliver Maverick to Palma en route to the RORC Transatlantic start. I had been following the boat as I knew a couple of the team and saw their great result in the Middle Sea Race and jumped at the chance to have a go with the DSS foils - there’s not too many boats out there yet with these revolutionary appendages so it was definitely an experience to go for!

Fortunately all of the boats from the race had finished when the storm hit Malta with up to 50 knots which delayed the departure of many boats back to their home ports but it meant that I had a chance to fly out and jump on board literally as the boat was leaving the dock on its way to Palma. After a quick run through from Nikki, she threw us our lines and we headed off into the sunset for 750 nm of sailing North. The first night was pretty light winds with a bit of swell which was perfect for getting used to where everything was led to on the boat - no sail changes in the dark! From there we had a bit of everything weather wise, I woke up during my off watch to water screaming past the hull and footsteps up and down the deck as a second reef was put in, it sounded very wet but I jumped into my kit for my watch and had 4 awesome hours sailing between 12 and 14 knots of boat speed in ‘throttle back’ mode - it would definitely be cool to see what the boat can do in race mode! The foils made it so easy to just sit on the back of a wave and hold speed for miles and miles!

After a quick pit stop in Sardinia to refuel ourselves and the boat we headed back out and onwards to Palma, enjoying some awesome sunrises on my watch, a few dolphins as well as the amazing 3 in 1 coffee sachets which have revolutionised my offshore coffee drinking!

We arrived in Palma and it was straight into mini-refit mode for the boat, Kees and Eric had been compiling a jobs list throughout the delivery and the four of us got to work. It was really cool to be part of Team Maverick for the week and see how much effort everyone is putting in to make sure the boat is in the best possible place to put in a good result in the Transat!

Hannah Diamond

Rolex Middle Sea Race report: As ready as we've ever been

Rolex Middle Sea Race report: As ready as we've ever been

By Piers Hugh-Smith

As ready as we’ve ever been was a phrase that was thrown around a lot before we left the dock in Malta, and it’s meaning is more than skin deep. With a boat like Maverick, we are incredibly fortunate to be developing all the time, using new technology, from Voltsport’s innovative and cutting edge battery system to our real ‘showstopper’ (Hopefully that rings with you GBBO fans), our DSS foils- However, with development comes trial and error, hard work and an expectation for nothing to work ‘out of the box’. Olly, the skipper, and all the guys working on-shore have put in reams of hard work to make sure we are as developed as possible for each race, and to put it simply, the Maverick that started the Middle Sea was a few steps along from the Maverick before that started in Palermo. The atmosphere was palpably optimistic, and everyone, including myself, was itching to unleash the best Maverick we’ve had yet on the racecourse in Malta.

But before I get into the race, I’ll introduce myself if you didn’t catch my Palermo interview or my ill-fated backflip off the DSS foil! (Proud holder of highest number of Facebook hits). My name is Piers, I’m 21, sailing Maverick and campaigning a Diam24 Trimaran and in my spare time I’m an Economics undergraduate at the University of Portsmouth. On Maverick, I’m the bowman- dealing with the pointy end, the sail changes and if there’s every any reason to go up the rig, it’s me that goes! However offshore, I switch into a bit of an all-rounder mode, and can often be found behind the wheel or with a sheet in my hand in addition to my duties on the bow.

If I was going to go through the race turn by turn, not only would this blog seem more like a novel, but by the end of it the only person left reading would be my mum! So in the interests of your interests, I’m going to pick a few highs, lows and lessons and see how that goes for length.

The High's

The big one, having Volvo Ocean Race legend Stu Bannatyne on board. Stu was a real example on how to do things, and the attitude to performance was one of my key take-outs. The pace was relentless, always making adjustments, always thinking about that nth percent. I get the impression that ‘that’ll be good enough’ is not a phrase that features heavily in Stu’s vocab. This had big implications for me too with lots, and lots of sail changes, at one point we would have 3 sails up, 2 ready to go on the foredeck, and in the space of an hour would of changed to the 2 on the deck, and back again! The light transitional zones off the Mediterranean islands (Think Stromboli and Pantaleria etc you tracker watchers), really reward pushing through and always having the correct sail up, even if it’s only up for 20 minutes before a change to something else. I’m always learning on the bow, and the multiple sail changes, day and night, have really accelerated my confidence in manoeuvres. Other highs; foils! We got to use the foils a little more this race, a few hours. They are incredible, make a huge difference to speed and stability, and are worth all the hype. It was a real tease for what I hope the transatlantic will be like next month. Lastly, there was some other cool little sights on the way, having never seen an active Volcano, Stromboli was a peak (pun intended) and we were fortunate enough to see 2 sea turtles amongst the usual hordes of dolphins,

The Low's

At risk of sounding like a cliché, there weren’t really any. Not apart from the usual offshore gripes - being woken up in the off-watch, being covered by a film of salt for 3 days and whilst Expedition’s freeze dried is actually quite tasty, the 1000 kcal Extreme’ chicken korma was not quite like a Friday night curry and pint at my local, Dil Raj. (Tariq if you’re reading this I hope you’re happy for the shout-out). Maybe there was one jib-peel, involving some obscenities, a detonated lifejacket, a self-unfurling staysail and being very, very wet, (however my stellar Ocean Rodeo drysuit kept me bone dry underneath) where some team-mates may recall I found potentially less than ideal, but it’s all part of the fun.

To finish off

To come away from this event, the boat’s 3rd ever race, with a 3rd overall is just simply an honour. I don’t think any of us were expecting it, and coupled with a Class win in IRC 1, I’m immensely proud to be part of the team, and it’s a real testament to all the hard work that’s gone into the project so far. There’s a huge amount to learn still, but the boat is yet to unleash it’s full potential, and I cannot wait to see it!

Next stop Lanzarote for the RORC Transatlantic Race! 

#beamaverick #FollowTheStory

Blog update from the Rolex Middle Sea Race

Blog update from the Rolex Middle Sea Race

Skipper Olly blog update from the race...

Hello Team Maverick fans!

Well as I write this it is 0600 on the morning of the 24th. We have made much better progress than anticipated in our pre departure routing and briefings.

The race so far has been great for us. We have been working tirelessly to keep the yacht moving with her optimal sail plan. We have only seven crew on-board which means everyone gets up for every maneuver.

There have been a couple of interesting transition zones so far (and we are currently hopefully on the way out of one) but our new spinnaker staysail has been fantastic as a drifter/ SS combo.

The routing initially suggested that we would not have any foiling action. I am pleased to announce this has not been the case with our top speed being around 18kts yesterday while running under the A1.5.

As with any new yacht we have had to work really hard on improving the reliability of some of the systems. The team has done a great job and so far everything has been working as it should. The water maker, hydraulics, sat Comms, GSM comms, engine etc have all been behaving at the same time. A first a race! This means we have really been able to concentrate on performance and experiment with ideas. 

Anyway I hope this blog finds you all well....

Goodbye from the good ship Maverick

"A wise man learns from his mistakes, a genius learns from others mistakes" Anon

Skipper Olly

Learning points from Palermo-Montecarlo by Kees Postma

Learning points from Palermo-Montecarlo by Kees Postma

Learning points from the Palermo Monte-Carlo race

With a 4th place on the water, behind bigger boats and teams with more practice and experience on their boats, the Palermo Monte-Carlo race was a big success for Team Maverick. But there was also a lot of stuff that went wrong during the race. Continuous improvement is a big part of the team culture, so it’s important that we learn from the things that go wrong. And we want to share that learning with all of you.

Problem #1: Lost the staysail halyard out of the mast

The swivel for the staysail halyard is held on to that halyard by a stopper knot. Unlike the swivels for the other furling sails there is no slot inside this swivel for a dogbone, which would be a more reliable stopper.

When we went to change from the J2 to the staysail in strong winds on the approach to Sardinia, this stopper knot came undone which meant the staysail went for a swim and the halyard plummeted into the mast. Mousing a halyard through the mast in these conditions is not possible, so flying our staysail was no longer an option. Sadly we have had this problem before and thought we had resolved it by using a different stopper knot.

Learning point: Improve the reliability of the stopper knot. Solution pending at time of writing.

Problem #2: Jib tack line snapped

Approaching the mandatory course gate off Porto Cervo in the dark and 30 knots of wind, the jib tack line snapped. Maverick’s jib tack line runs forward from the cockpit inside the boat and comes out of a small cavity in the deck all the way forward on the bow. The cavity is tiny, which makes it incredibly difficult to re-mouse a new tack line around the stainless rod that directs the line up to the sail. With all this happening at night and on the bounciest and wettest end of the boat, it took over 20 minutes of fiddling before a new tack line was ready to go.

Learning point: Have ready-to-go backups for all systems and controls that are hard or impossible to access, especially in the conditions in which those systems and controls are likely to fail.

Problem #3: Failure of hydraulic controls

The keel evidently had such a good time on full cant to starboard that, after foiling past Bonifacio at 20kts+ and straight into a massive wind hole in the lee of Corsica, it decided it wanted to stay there. As the hydraulic vang and traveller were still working, the fault seemed to lie in the connection between the control buttons and the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller: the brain that receives all hydraulic commands and sends them on to the hydraulic system). The frustrating thing here was that the hydraulic system itself was still working, we just had no way of telling it what to do.

An attempt to resolve the keel control issue accidentally resulted in a very mysterious but very complete disablement of the entire PLC, which meant that there was now no way of telling any of the hydraulics what to do. The rest of the race was sailed without the use of our hydraulic vang and traveller.

Learning point: There should be a ready-to-go backup method of commanding the hydraulics that bypasses the PLC.

Problem #4: Lack of testing and knowledge of manual keel controls

With no electronic control of the keel, we resorted to the often-discussed-but-never-really-tested manual keel controls. A set of manual hydraulic controls for the keel is obviously a great plan, but its usefulness is vastly reduced when most of the crew has never used it before. It didn’t take very long to educate people, but in an emergency situation it could have been a more serious problem.

Learning point: Everyone on board must have sufficient knowledge of the hydraulic valves and switches to be able to work at least the manual keel hydraulics.

Problem #5: Alternator no longer charging batteries

Around the same time that the hydraulic controls failed, we discovered that the alternator on the engine wouldn’t charge our batteries anymore. Perhaps it decided that with all our hydraulics down we didn’t need power either.

Learning point: Have another way of charging the batteries.

In this case we were one step ahead of the game! We carry a hydrogenerator that deploys off the back of the boat, makes us power-neutral at around 7 knots of boat speed, and charges our batteries at anything above that.

Problem #6: Damage to hydrogenerator

We felt very smug about our hydrogenerator until the sea state built enough that the entire device bounced out of its bracket on the transom and was dragged behind the boat on its safety line. The good news was that it was quickly noticed and recovered back on board. The bad news was that one of the blades had snapped off and we didn’t have any spares on board. We tried using it with only two blades, but it wasn’t generating a lot of power and the imbalance was causing so much vibration and drag we had to pull it up.

Learning point: Make sure the hydrogenerator can be locked into its bracket. And don’t leave the spare blades on a shelf in the container.

Although we always race to win, this program and especially its early stages are all about learning as much as possible. All of these problems are frustrating but they do translate into the quickest way to learn your yacht. At some stage the gloves need to come off and you need to stress test not only the systems, but also the people using them. The Mediterranean provides a great safe arena for this. Preparation is about preventing problems but also being ready for the inevitable one you did not anticipate.

We are looking forward to one more race in this arena in October, the Rolex Middle Sea Race, before we set off on the RORC Transatlantic Race in November.

Stay tuned as we keep sharing our progress with you.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn”

Kees Postma, Team Maverick

"Can we foil yet?" asks Sean McCarter

"Can we foil yet?" asks Sean McCarter

"Can we foil yet" asks Sean McCarter...

Round the world yacht race skipper Sean McCarter joins Team Maverick for the first time to compete in the Palermo-Montecarlo race. Here he documents his experience as he foils with us for the first time and gets a taste for DSS speed!

Sean...

This was the question I pestered Team Maverick with for the two days of training in Palermo before race start to Monte Carlo. The incessant questioning continued for a further 240 nm of light, upwind racing to Porto Cervo, the first mark of the race, then something special happened...

Sean McCarter: crew

Sean McCarter: crew

Becoming a 'Maverick' was a no-brainer; my good friend and old competitor on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race called me up and asked if I was keen to sail the new, light weight, state of the art, Infiniti 46R with DSS, newly commissioned and launching in San Tropez. Olly explained the goal of building a team eager to push leading edge technology in many of the world’s classic offshore races. Sign me up! 

Arriving in Palermo and meeting a post-delivery exhausted crew, it was refreshing to see a wide variety of experience, enthusiasm, good humor and positivity. Olly is an intelligent skipper with an eye for detail and a knack for delegating second-to-none. 

At first sight, Maverick is a mean-looking machine with numerous standout features, a huge bowsprit, massive rig, hard chines and the orange tips of the Dynamic Stability System (DSS) foils peaking out menacingly from each side. It is a relatively small boat utilising technology common to boats twice its size. A canting keel and dagger board help turbo charge the boat when conditions don't allow for foiling. A huge amount of effort went into weight saving; 5.5 tonnes most of which is in the keel bulb says job well done. My favourite example is the throttle; unlike most race boats who use an 'off-the-shelf' brand, Team Maverick have made a 1 mm dyneema line and pulley system to engage gears and another into a cam cleat to select RPMs depending on how hard you hard you pull! 

After rounding our mark off Porto Cervo, we bore away into the Maddalena channel and finally we got the elusive call, 'Deploy the foil!' We hoisted a jib-top and started shaking reefs. For the following two hours, we blasted through one of the most spectacular racecourses in the world, affectionately known as 'Bomb Alley', with the sun rising in a perfect background. We topped out at 21.8 kts and the boat felt stable and capable of more. We later heard that Rambler 88's max speed was 22 kts...say no more.

Sean McCarter

#beamaverick #followthestory