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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)

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

Skipper race report: Palermo-Montecarlo

Skipper race report: Palermo-Montecarlo

Event: Palermo Monte Carlo

Start Date: 21st August 2016

Course: Mondello Bay (Sicily)to Porto Chervo Gate to Monte Carlo

Team Sheet:

Skipper: Oliver Cotterell

Navigator: Eric Holden

Crew: Kees Postma, Nikki Curwen, Quentin Stewart, Piers Hugh Smith, John Milsom, Sean McCarter

Weather summary

The forecast was for light winds throughout the race. We left at 12:00 local time on the 21st, a Mistral was forecast to grow in the north. However it was not forecast to come as far south or be as prevalent a feature as it turned out to be. The Mistral had more force to it and pushed further south more quickly than initial models anticipated.

We departed in what I am told are classic Palermo conditions with a weak sea breeze developing just in time to get everyone over the line and safely away down the course.

As the day drew on and we got further from Sicily the sea breeze wore off and light fluky conditions took over through the night.

On the morning of the 22nd as the fleet pushed north and the effect of the Mistral pushed south the wind built from the N/NNE so that the fleet were pushing into 20-30 kts on the bow I think we saw 35 kts true wind as our highest gust. This wind held at between 15-25 kts maybe veering a little further to the east as we were approaching the Porto Chervo gate.

Corsica caused a wind shadow and while this was a difficult transition zone it also provided some time to get on top of our systems and dry the boat out a bit!

Once out of the lea of Corsica we were back into close-hauled conditions in 20-25 kts of wind. This lasted approximately two to three hours before light fluky conditions saw us all the way home to Monaco.

The report

Firstly I would like to sing the praises of the Palermo Monte Carlo Race. The race was a fun, challenging offshore race and I am sure the event will go from strength to strength and continue to grow. I found the organisation of the event to be excellent, the people friendly, the hospitality superb and the race itself exhilarating throwing in some interesting conditions.

This was Maverick’s second race and the first with this crew and as such achieving a 4th over the line is a result we are proud of. I must say a massive thank you to all the crew who have worked tirelessly on the yacht to make this all possible. We are a very small team and everyone has to contribute in multiple areas to make the program a success.

The event was exactly what we hoped it would be. With the relatively strong head winds we encountered the crew really got to stress test the yacht and learn more about how her systems would operate over prolonged periods in race conditions. As a result of this there is still a lot of work to do but all the time we are learning and moving forward.

Most of the race was either sailing in very light variable conditions or sailing close-hauled into strong winds. In total we were only foiling for probably an hour, in this time, while reaching under a “Jib Top” and “Main,” we managed a top speed of 22.5 kts with sustained averages in the high teens. The speed and stability of the yacht when she is foiling continues to impress me. I have never experienced acceleration on a sailing yacht like this. I was very impressed with how stiff and strong the yacht was. We really threw her off some waves at very high speeds and not only did she take it all in her stride but she behaved very well while doing it!

Certainly, as a skipper, my confidence in here strength has been galvanised after this event.

We had a lot of challenges with various systems during the race and we will be working hard to improve the resilience and reliability of these systems before our next event. As with any race, in hindsight, there are areas I feel that we could have done better. The important thing, indeed what we aim to do as a team, is learn from each event and try and improve in all areas so that better performance results. The yacht is definitely fast, but it is not enough to be fast to do well in these events. Holistically everything must come together and be correct, from sail trim and tactics to rule compliance and the inevitable dreaded “admin”. We are proud that we achieved 4th over the line in the Palermo Monte Carlo Race and are confident that as our time on the water and experience improves so will the performance we can extract out of our yacht.

Finally I would like to congratulate the crew of Rambler 88 on their Line Honours Victory. The crew of Scricca for coming first in ORC and the crew of Desperado for coming first in IRC. They all sailed great races and earned well deserved results.

That's all for now...

"Creativity is contagious, pass it on," Albert Einstein

#BeAMaverick

Olly

(Skipper, Team Maverick)

The making of a Maverick

The making of a Maverick

A few years ago a recent university graduate stormed down a London high street. Freshly pressed dry cleaning in hand, the 22 year old grumbled down the phone, “What did you do with the trousers? No they’re not in there you must have lost them!” later establishing they had been left on the pavement for a lucky trouser-less pack of dogs, the young man attended his first interview to become a banker in jeans and a blazer. This youngster was called Andrew; needless to say he did not get the job. A year later he would become one of the youngest skippers to race a team of novice sailors around the world.

She is a Maverick and so are they, willing to try something new in the hope of doing something different.

Four years ago another young man was catching the tube on the London underground where he had landed his dream job in financial management. This commute would change his life forever.  Having seen a poster to race a yacht around the world, 20-year-old James picked up his phone and booked it instantly. “Some of my best decisions in life have been made in a split second,” James would later go on to say. From that moment his life would never be the same; and so the meeting of a unique bunch of Mavericks would begin.

A year after these two events took place Andrew became the skipper of a 70 ft. boat that would race novice crews around the world, achieving a respectable podium third. James also joined the race as crew on a competing boat.

During their circumnavigation James and Andrew became friends along with Ivan, a wealthy entrepreneur who decided to join the race simply to see if he liked sailing. That should tell you all you need to know about Ivan right there!

“What if we did something different?” the casual, unassuming Ivan said to his friends over a cold beer, “what if we really did this? I’m going to build a boat with cutting edge technology, hit the racing circuit to see if it works and hopefully turn some heads while I’m at it! Are you in?” Not ready for their sailing adventure to end James and Andrew answered in unison “Absolutely!”

Now, none of them knew what it would take to build a boat or how hard it would be to even get to the start line. Over the coming years there were very tough times, long hours and late nights, but love for the project prevailed above all.

Team Maverick now compete in competitive sailing events around the world, combining a canting keel, foiling stability systems and a wide array of complex gadgets. When they started out they didn’t even know whether the boat would perform the way they had predicted. She is a Maverick and so are they, willing to try something new in the hope of doing something different.

To find out how it all turns out follow their story here and via our socia media network. #TeamMaverick #FollowTheStory

Author: Hannah Cotterell Media