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team maverick

Team Maverick waves the flag for Britain in joint partnership deal with the GREAT Britain Campaign

Team Maverick waves the flag for Britain in joint partnership deal with the GREAT Britain Campaign

Date: 14th February 2018
Article by: Hannah Cotterell

Team Maverick has announced a partnership deal in collaboration with the GREAT Britain campaign. The agreement will see Team Maverick’s Infiniti 46R proudly representing Great Britain with prominent Union Jack designs on the yachts’ sails and crew kit at prestigious yacht racing events around the globe. Drawing attention with their radically innovative design yacht Maverick will provide an ideal platform to carry the British campaign message to global audiences.

The GREAT Britain campaign showcases the best of what the British nation has to offer, to inspire the world and encourage people to visit, invest, do business and study in the UK. It is the UK government’s most ambitious international campaign ever, uniting the efforts of the public and private sector to generate jobs and growth for Britain.

Conrad Bird CBE, Director, GREAT Britain campaign stated: “I’m delighted that from today Sailing Team Maverick will be flying the flag for Britain around the world. Designed in the UK with the most advanced engineering and precision craftsmanship, this yacht combines Britain’s proud sailing history with revolutionary technology and will serve to promote Britain’s strengths to over 30 countries during her 2018 race schedule.”

Team Maverick have collaborated with the GREAT Britain campaign to wave the flag for British industry using their technically innovative racing yacht as a platform for spreading the message around the globe. Maverick tends to draw attention during events as the only boat of its kind to incorporate unique Dynamic Stability System (DSS) foiling technology on a 46 ft. yacht, clearly visible by the unapologetically different bright orange foils protruding from the side of the hull. On the start line Maverick is often one of the smaller yachts in the line-up and yet with a first in class and second overall in the RORC 2016 Transatlantic race, along with a number of respectable results from events such as the Rolex Middle Sea Race and Palermo Montecarlo, it is clear this little yacht has a lot to say.

With great ambitions themselves Team Maverick plan to meet more open-minded businesses through this partnership, businesses that may also look to invest in the team as a commercial platform for growth.

This agreement will be made official as Team Maverick compete in this years’ 2018 Royal Ocean Racing Club Caribbean 600, a 600 nautical mile offshore yacht race which will see yacht Maverick and crew proudly displaying the Union Jack flag for the first time to this international fleet of competitors and event followers.

Be a part of the story and follow the latest updates at maverick49.com or via their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages!

To find out more about the GREAT Britain campaign visit their website here!

#BeaMaverick #FollowTheStory #lovegreatbritain

A Maverick Refit in Palma

A Maverick Refit in Palma

Mav 3.jpeg

The Rolex Middle Sea race had 104 starters of which Maverick was one of only 35 to finish.

Smashing upwind in 25 kts. with 4 m swells followed by a blisteringly quick run back in squalls exceeding 40 kts. pushed both boat and crew to the limit.

Our initial feeling of how bullet proof the Infinity 46 was, gradually gave way to the realisation that we had a lot of maintenance to do before our next race. As is often the case, we found more as we went and few specific issues soon mushroomed into a full-blown refit.

On arrival in Palma, we hauled out in STP shipyard and our new engineer Jack Carter (ex-MOMO and Cornish Big wave surf champion) began work on the most pressing issue, a full inspection and service of the canting keel system.

We removed our DSS foils for a thorough inspection and service. Bearings were removed, serviced and resealed while various measures were taken by the design and carbon team (Andrea Crocellà and Jose Rius ) to make  the foil cases more waterproof. They also removed the rudder and went to work improving its alignment and articulation whilst Jack serviced and repaired the two custom made bearings.

With most of our foils out of the boat, we decided to go ahead and remove the dagger board and have specialist painter and local legend Ed Wheelhouse paint it all in bright orange Durapox.

While all this was happening, our new rigger Jorge was busily servicing deck gear, splicing lines and replacing damaged lines. In between which he and wife Yana found time to give birth to their first born son Leo, congratulations guys!

Down below was also a hive of activity with marine electrical specialists, Wavelength, undertaking a complete electric overhaul. As well as replacing and re-running every cable and remaking every connection, Andy Walker and his team also renewed the main switch board, upgraded helm controls, installed a new set of Lithium Ion Mastervolt batteries with complete battery management system resulting in a more powerful and more robust end product.

To say the last 10 weeks have been busy is an understatement and totally unfair to all those involved. A massive thanks to everyone for their effort and commitment, early mornings and late nights, Christmas and new year spent working away in an unusually quiet STP shipyard.

Now we can look forward to the Caribbean 600 and Newport-Bermuda and translate all the hard work and improvements into some more race results for Team Maverick.

That's all for now!

Sean McCarter

#BeaMaverick #FollowTheStory

A Maverick review of the RORC 2016 Transatlantic Race

A Maverick review of the RORC 2016 Transatlantic Race

Our founder Quentin reviews the Maverick 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race...

The team had planned to join the RORC Transatlantic race 12 months prior and in a moment of mental frailty I folded to the dream of a trade wind fuelled blast to the Caribbean, average weather routing of about 9 to 10 days. I flew into Lanzarote with some trepidation. The latest forecast had a routing of 14 days and looked to be taking us to the Arctic. Not at all the warm water sled ride I had signed up for.

Our yacht Maverick is a 46ft race boat. Down below she is a mobile sail loft, all mod cons and creature comforts were designed out. On deck at speed, which is our preferred operational mode, the experience is akin to a wash down with a fire hose. All good fun for 3 days on the traditional 600 mile classics, but 14 days seemed a psychological bridge to far.

A beautiful first afternoon turned into a grim 24 hours as we had to beat in 20knts and sharp chop to clear the Canaries. You can roll with those punches if there is some fun to come, but that’s not to be our luck. We are mid Atlantic with 2,500 miles to go in a high pressure system taking us North when we want to go South having to use our mast head zero in 5knts of breeze. That’s when I knew it was going to be a long two weeks.

After about 8 days we finally found some trade winds and we were off. On this boat there is nothing quite as enjoyable as smashing out miles with easy speed, in a constant breeze on a long swell. After 2 or 3 days of enjoying ourselves we had given up all pretence of trying to stay dry, board shorts were on, it was warm and what could possibly go wrong.

It must be 48 years since I last had nappy rash. Thanks to RORC I have new found respect for crying babies. We were all struggling to a greater or lesser extent and despite having every conceivable bit of safety kit and extensive medical supplies for a Cat 1 rating, no one had remembered to pack the Sudocream.

Around day 11 our spirits were lifted as we crossed paths with a gentleman 4 weeks into his crossing (and still some 500 miles out) who expressed some surprise that we thought it sensible to be using a kite. Smug as we felt blasting away, expecting our pain to be over in about 2 days, his scepticism prove prophetic and within 24 hours we were quickly relived of all of our nylon.

As with all great adventures things got a bit tougher. One of the pins that hold our oversized bowsprit in place failed. A bit of frantic lashing and a winch handle were the best repair we could come up with; patently inadequate to deal with the loads on the sprit if the 2nd pin failed. After ten minutes of quite reflection on the relative importance of beer, shower, Sudocream, food and a bed (in any particular order) against the cost of replacing the sprit, it was no contest and up went the fractional zero (our last big sail) to the end of the prod. We kept a wary eye on the bowsprit which proceeded to move not 1 millimetre.

The last day was the usual roller coaster of emotions. The class win was there but we needed wind, which of course died. Resigned to a near miss we put in the gybe to set course for Grenada and from nowhere we had 20knts at 110 degrees. The yacht took off and within 7 or so hours we were tied up to a warm welcome from the RORC and Camper and Nicholsons team drinking the first of many cold beers. After 3000 miles of racing we pipped Leopard on handicap by about half an hour.

This was a proper race and not a crossing. It was a test of endurance for the boat and the team. As ever the organisation by RORC and the facilities provided by the marinas at both ends were first class. It is an event which we should be proud of and need to nurture because it offers a real test to those committed to offshore racing.

Would I go again; of course (just don’t tell my long suffering wife). However I might see if Mike Slade could spare a berth on Leopard, by all accounts a more comfortable experience.

Q

Rolex Middle Sea - A Maverick race review

Rolex Middle Sea - A Maverick race review

Author: Piers Hugh Smith
Course: Valetta-Messina Straits (Italy/Sicily) - Stromboli - Pantaleria - Lampadusa - Valetta.

The odometer on the past 12-months of racing clicks over to around 6,500 nm after a busy season with Maverick! Out of the previous five major offshore races, Maverick has been the boat for four of them, a total of 5,900 nm - I certainly had never seen this coming and am forever counting my lucky stars for being part of such a great and continuous program. Always learning and always finding new areas to improve.

This Rolex Middle Sea Race, my second, shaped up to be a lot more interesting than the first! The first, 2016, characterised by a steady drift round the scenic Mediterranean islands with little more than 12-14 knts boat speed at best, could not be further from what was in store for us this time. ‘Finally!’, a few of us thought, there has previously been an uncanny lack of conventional weather for the Maverick program,  it would be nice to see some weather. Being careful what you wish for might just be the motto here!

I can never get over the start of this race, amongst the striking sandstone scenery of the Grand Harbour in Valetta, the narrow beat through the harbour walls and then and ultra short kite leg at the start gets the blood pumping and tests our quick fire/inshore manoeuvres. A pretty gradual beat followed up the Messina straits, a mix of light wind park ups with changes from the J1 (our biggest headsail), to the MHO (our biggest masthead reaching sail), and the occasional spinnaker thrown in for good measure. Although placid, these are often pretty testing conditions for a bowman, loads of quick-fire changes, often in the dark, and it’s a real test to make sure you can consistently deliver these without locking out your halyards or, at worst, tangling them up making a change impossible. I’ve been away from the boat for a while and I think this showed here, a couple of the changes going a little awry with some halyard issues, certainly time to be gained there. However it was great to have an understanding team backing me up and focusing their energies on solving issues, rather than dwelling on errors. This has been a hallmark feature of the program and something I believe is a key ingredient of our successes. Every day is a school day, after all.

Apart from the numerous sail changes the first part of this race was somewhat uneventful, however near Palermo our test began, building breeze into a 135 nm beat, this was a good chance for some drysuit action with testing upwind sailing which is pretty tough on a skinny, 46 ft boat. It’s hard to find the groove in waves that stacked up pretty quick to a hefty swell the height of a transit van. This is where my be careful what you wish for comment earlier comes in. We soon cracked off onto a jib reach, followed by a punchy FR0 (smaller than the MHO, but a power reaching weapon of a sail) passage and a technical peel to an A3, our smallest reaching spinnaker. Change complete and trucking along at a steady 17-22 knts of boat speed I headed down for some rest, thinking how our speedy averages would see me with a pint and a burger in Valetta in no time. However from inside the boat it sounded like the world was beginning to end! A constant rush of water and huge crashes and the boat charges through waves, arcing spray over the decks with a deluge of water threatening to wash anything not lashed down into the sea behind. Our speed crept up towards 27-28 knts here as we pushed the boundaries of what the sail was capable of. Earlier in this day myself and Jorge, the mid-bowman, had been thrown back 15 ft along the foredeck, along with the 60 kg sail we were carrying, with the sheer force of water travelling along the deck- thankfully we always clip on the safety harnesses in these conditions.

But back to the A3, downstairs I hear an almighty crash followed by my body being thrown forward down the bunk, knees in my chest as I press against the keel bulkhead in front. There is a reason we always say sleep feet first in this boat, it is better to break your legs rather than your neck when this thing flies off a wave! The boat pivoted around its axis and lay flat on its side with the sound of an ‘All Hands!’ cry and all hell breaking loose on deck. This was when our much loved and little used A3 decided to part company with itself, having been torn into many, many pieces after a 40 knt gust knocked us over after pitching into a wave at 25+ knts. Halyards were cut and what little remained of the sail recovered on board before the FR0 was speedily hoisted again, this was a pretty harrowing moment with a lot of stress on the rig, the decision to cut the halyard was made to preserve the mast and stop the A3 now Sea Anchor ripping the top of our carbon mast off.

It was almost fortuitous however the breeze had continued to build and our forced change to the FR0 was the right call. The A3 would have done the same three times over as we launched off waves, our DSS foils provided immense amounts of grip that launched the boat forward at speeds more akin to an 80 ft yacht, rather than our 46 ft surfboard! Some of the wave impacts were similar to being in a car crash as the boat tore through walls of water, it was all you could do to hold on at times, your visions reduced to nothing in a ball of spray with the boat seemingly airborne beneath you. The speedo only read 6 knts as it was out the water! The highest I saw was 27, but we reportedly logged speeds in the early 30 knts if the GPS is to be believed. We dropped into preservation mode, dropping the watches from four hours on to one hour on as it’s key to keep everyone fresh and alert as mistakes at this speed could potential be seriously damaging to more than just the boat and race. It was certainly one of my most intense nights offshore. The Infinit 46R can certainly take one hell of a beating! I don’t know many other boats that could shake off such an aggressive punishment so easily.

Windspeed hung around the 20-30 knt range for the rest of the race, the occasional 40 knts in the squalls as we concluded the reaching round Lampadusa island, but in a slightly more gentle fashion on a tighter angle with lighter breeze. Dawn broke as we approached the Malta/Gozo channel, still maintaining our reduced watch and keeping the boat pushed all the way in.

We were certainly pleased to finish this one in (almost) one piece! The whole team worked really hard, pressure was kept on us and it is always great to sail with such a pedigree bunch, it really encourages you to up your game, and I am certainly looking forward to seeing them onboard again in the future.

At the time of writing we have won IRC class 1, 4th overall on IRC, 1st overall on ORC and 6th on line honours, a results I’m pretty happy with given such a tough heavy air session. Not bad for a little 46 ft boat, taking on some big teams!

So another awesome race with Team Maverick, and I’m left excited for the next adventure that comes round…

Piers

#BeaMaverick #FollowTheStory

 

Rolex Middle Sea race preparation update!

Rolex Middle Sea race preparation update!

Fastnet to Malta; time flies when you're having fun!

After the Rolex Fastnet, our last major race in the U.K. for some time, Maverick went back to the Solent for a great Corporate day with Deloitte!

Stuart Miller then packed her up and put her on a Peter's and May ship to Palma.

We launched off the ship and a glorious morning gave way to driving, torrential rain for the 10min delivery to STP shipyard! 

Maverick was hauled out the following morning for some minor fairing and paint repairs by DeCabo. We also sent a number of sails off to Doyle to be remeasured for our ratings.

We launched last Monday and had a busy few days getting fuel, water, provisions and sails on, as well as a hydraulic overhaul.

Eric (our navigator) then stepped on like the rockstar he is and took off on the 620 nm delivery to Malta! A leap of faith but well placed thanks to the shore team/delivery crew of Cathrine Jack and Jorge.

As I type from the cramped seat of Veuling's Airbus 320, some of the team are already on the ground in Valletta, Malta's historic capital. Newport's Dan Morris and I arrive in a couple of hours behind Gordon Kay, Luke and Libby Greenhalgh from Team SCA.

We're all looking forward to a couple of good days training before taking on what Ted Turner once famously described as 'the most beautiful race course in the world'.

Stay tuned Mavericks...

Sean McCarter (aka Chicken Joe...)

Find out more about Sean and his Vendee 2020 ambitions here.

#BeAMaverick #FollowTheStory

Photo credit: Hannah Cotterell Media

A Maverick Fastnet review

A Maverick Fastnet review

Author: Piers Hugh Smith

www.sailsmithracing.uk

The dust had barely settled from the Tour Voile before I was onto the next project… A 14hr drive back from Nice to Hamble saw me venturing across the Solent the following day to join Team Maverick, the title sponsors of the Tour Voile project, for the lead up to one of sailing’s most iconic and notorious races- The Rolex Fastnet. Despite the Fastnet race being the closest 600-mile race to home- it is the last on the list for me to tick off- so I was exceptionally excited to be racing with Maverick for this edition.

We had an excellent training day in the solent in 20knts of breeze, a good shake down for the boat after the team at SRM Marine have been putting in so much hard work to get the boat sorted. As the DSS foils have not been applied to any other medium size race boat before this, and very few others designed totally around the DSS- Maverick presents many engineering and technological challenges that take time and effort to work out. The boat has been sailing for around 18months and has continually been improving throughout that time.

I was lucky enough to be on the wheel for the start, it was pretty special starting such and iconic race with the view of hundreds of other yachts who had started in earlier starts beating out the Solent ahead of us. We were contesting our class with Rambler 88, the Volvo 65’s and the odd IMOCA so it was a star studded start. Following the advice of tactician Mike, we kept clear of the much taller rigs in the bunch, and held our own lane for the start. About halfway up the Solent I changed off the helm for Kees and got ready for the world’s longest windward leg!

It was Ocean Rodeo dry suit on pretty much from the beginning, beating into a tide that was turning against, and a meaty 20knts of breeze meant plenty of waves over the boat and I made a commitment to stay dry! It was cold too, so the suit didn’t really come off until the finish of the race. I was at risk of my planning having let me down but was okay in the end- I decided to only take one spare mid layer and one spare inner- these went on during the first night and stayed on until the finish. My kit bag, a 10ltr dry bag, stayed empty the entire race, so at the least I was confident I took the lightest set up possible!

For me the upwind was fairly featureless beyond the normal tariff of living offshore on Maverick. One major tactical decision for Eric, the navigator, as to either to head across the channel and hit the corner of the beat to lay land’s end, or whether to head up the shore line, short tacking up with English coast. For the rest of us, during the on-watch we pushed the get the most out of our upwind set up in a dying breeze. The drop in wind strength made for a more comfortable ride but unfortunatelya slightly slower one. During the off watch I committed to only eating Asian Beef with Noodles from the freeze dried selection and maximised my sleep time! As the bowman the upwind legs are often quieter than the downwind, and with a windy 200mile downwind leg coming up after rounding the iconic Fastnet rock, I focused on maximising my sleep so I was in the best possible shape.

We edged round Land’s End, entering the Irish Sea and not long after the psychological halfway mark of the rock came to the fore of our minds. Whilst not a literal halfway mark, as the rock sits 400mile into the 600mile race, mentally most of the guys see it that way. It’s a 180 degree turn and puts you onto the homeward stretch into Plymouth. A nice rounding for us, in the company of a media chopper and a class 40, we peeled onto our A2, the second biggest downwind sail. Coincidentally I clocked off watch at the end of this change, so hit the bunk for my 4 hours of rest.

I was awoken about 2.5/3 hrs into my off watch by the sound of the world ending. Maverick is a cacophony of noise when going downwind in breeze- the impact and rush of the water on the empty carbon hull echoes throughout the while structure, and the howl of sheets being eased accompanies a deafening roar as the keel pump drives the hydraulic sail controls. Underscored by the whirr of the pedestal gearbox by my head; there was not much stopping me from being awoken! The breeze had risen go 25knots +, so out of range of the A2, we leaped over and through waves with a cascade of water pouring into the cockpit every minute. Eric and Mike made the call for a change to the A3, so myself and Q, the mid-bowman, ventured to the front of the boat to get the sail ready to go. The change went pretty well despite a small bit of damage to the foot of the A2 from water pressure and a wobble I had on the front whilst releasing the tack line - the prospect of falling off the boat loomed and I decided it wasn’t for me; luckily holding my balance to stay on board!

The A3 was the prefect sail for the conditions- it was a lighting quick Irish Sea crossing as we hit up to 26-27 knts storming downwind. A few gybes for the Traffic Separation Scheme Exclusion Area and we rolled into a simple A2 to flatter and smaller Jib-top peel for the reach to Plymouth from the Scilly Isles.

A really simple but wet leg! Keep it lit up on the JT, more or less due East, and try and close the gap the more upwind oriented boats had got on us earlier in the race. A really quick leg again, up to 22/23 knts boat speed, waves carving over the boat at speed. Ski goggles went on so I could maintain visibility and we pushed hard to get the boat home.

A few of the guys had stayed up past their watch the previous night, we suffered a breakdown of the watch system at about 5am, as guys who were technically ‘ON’ had already been up all night pushing the boat downwind, and guys who were ‘OFF’ might have been off for a while. In my eyes this was a bit of a failing as I believe it’s really important to adhere to the structure of the watch in order to make sure everyone receives regular and efficient rest. Otherwise the burnout risk becomes too prevalent. We had a rest and decided to lease with each persons opposite number to work out what sleep levels they needed- we run a one hour rolling watch, so you have one buddy who wakes you up and you wake him up- this split allowed the guys who needed it to rest and the guys who didn’t kept on pushing. This did a pretty good job of keeping the pace up on the last stretch into Plymouth.

In the end we finished at around 1530hrs BST, an oddly civilised time for finishing an offshore as I am used to these races finishing in the dark! We rolled into the bar for some post race celebration and some much needed food- there is only so much freeze dried I can take! I feel we were a little unfortunate with the weather, a little too much upwind for Maverick, a downwind focused machine, we struggled to compete on IRC. However- we sailed a good race and ticking off the last Rolex offshore this year, plus the Trans-Atlantic race ticks off a bucket-list goal for me in getting all those done in 12months!

An incredible couple months of sailing and one of the busiest times of my life- it’s now time for a bit of R&R and to maybe not see another boat for a little while! Though who knows how long I can willingly stay away- the Diam 24 UK national Champs are approaching and you will see Team Maverick SSR back out on the water there.

Ciao!

Piers Hugh Smith

#BeAMaverick #FollowTheStory

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TEAM MAVERICK HOST A PARTY

TEAM MAVERICK HOST A PARTY

 

AND YOU'RE INVITED!

Doors open: 19:30
Free Rock Rose Gin & Tonic on arrival
Live band & DJ
Hog roast from 20:30
Venue: The Loft, Barbican in Plymouth
Future Fibres prizes to be won!


Ever wondered what it's like to be a Maverick? Now's your chance to find out as this year Team Maverick are hosting a party at The Loft, Barbican in Plymouth. Team Maverick would like to invite you, if you dare, to embrace your inner bull and spend the evening eating, drinking and dancing like a Maverick!

GET YOUR WRIST BANDS TO GET IN!

You'll need an orange Maverick wristband to get in, which you can get from a member of the crew or on the door!

INSTAGRAM & TWITTER COMPETITION

Got a good photo of you being a Maverick? Please post it to your Instagram or Twitter account tagging us in via the details below WITH #BeAMaverick for your chance to WIN a Maverick t-shirt!

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
— Dr. Seuss

Instagram: @team_maverick
Twitter: @yachtmaverick
#BeAMaverick



DETAILS

Date: Thursday 10th August 2017
Doors open: from 19:30 until you fall over
Venue: The Loft, Barbican, Plymouth

Lets get this party started!
#BeAMaverick #FollowTheStory


Thank you to our sponsor!


 

Team Maverick support Diam fleet to form Team Maverick SSR Racing

Team Maverick support Diam fleet to form Team Maverick SSR Racing

SSR and Team Maverick are pleased to announce they are to combine forces to take on the Tour de France á la Voile as the only British team to ever compete in the event’s current format. Team Maverick’s support as a title sponsor of Sailsmith Racing now gives the SSR a new identity and vision; as Team Maverick SSR.

Team Principal of SSR, Piers Hugh Smith, is enthusiastic about joining Team Maverick’s vision, commenting,

“Having been a member of the Team Maverick program aboard the Infiniti 46 ‘Maverick’, and experienced first-hand the ground up, enthusiastic and supportive approach of the team, it’s a natural extension to bring Team Maverick into the Tour Voile fleet. We are doing something new and different as the only British team, involving young and upcoming sailors, so it seemed like a great fit to get involved in the #beamaverick ethos as Team Maverick SSR.”

Hannah Cotterell from Team Maverick commented,

“As the great Dr. Seuss stated, ‘why fit in when you were born to stand out?’ Team Maverick is all about trying something new in the hope of doing something different. Unorthodox, original and dedicated we leave egos at the door and tell it like it is. Supporting Team Maverick SSR will be an extension of this ethos, helping grow our approach to being a little different. Good luck to all our Diam24 sailors.

Stay foolish, stay hungry #BeaMaverick.”

The Team have now launched their new boat, ‘Raygun’ in its striking Team Maverick attire which will be seen at an array of international and local events for the coming season as well as practicing out on the solent!

www.maverick49.com

Maverick retire from Caribbean 600 due to injury

Maverick retire from Caribbean 600 due to injury

ANNOUNCEMENT

Maverick has retired from the Royal Ocean Racing Club RORC Caribbean 600

"Maverick diverted to Nevis to drop Steve Taylor off at the hospital after suffering an injury to his right hand. As soon as the incident occurred the team retired from the race and made best speed to Nevis.

Piers has gone with Steve to the hospital in Nevis. The rest of the team are safe and well. We are on a mooring outside of Charlestown Nevis and will clear customs tomorrow morning.

Our thoughts are with Steve. His next of kin have been notified."

Oliver Cotterell, Skipper 

#rorcrc600

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

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

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

Palermo-Montecarlo race report: Montecarlo or bust

Palermo-Montecarlo race report: Montecarlo or bust

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.

#teammaverick #beamaverick #followthestory

The technical and human angle behind Maverick

The technical and human angle behind Maverick

In conceiving the yacht Maverick we set ourselves a very clear brief.  She was to be an offshore race boat designed to tackle the "600 mile classics".  As with most things in life thats where the clarity ended and the compromising started.

Our budget wouldn't stretch very far against a new 100ft maxi so that focused our attention on the handicap rather than the line honours.  The plethora of existing designs, TP's VOR's all offered something but by being excellent at what they were designed for they were not necessarily best suited to what we wanted.  We planned to run a global campaign, the boat had to be easy to ship and we wanted to keep operating costs to a minimum.  Length and people became the critical issues for us to optimise as we look to maximise the returns for our resources.

To achieve our goals it was clear we had to do something a little different, we had to embrace some newer ideas to see if we could make a smaller boat perform like a bigger boat.  In our view an effective offshore racer has to be a strong reaching boat, but given we weren't focused on ocean racing we had to be as good as possible "uphill" and very effective across a range of conditions but particularly in light air.

We sat down with Hugh Welbourn and Gordon Kay to discuss using DSS.  With Hugh's help we combined a number of ideas to help us punch above the physics of length as often as possible.  Hugh's narrow hull form design allows us to reduce drag in all modes.  DSS helps us to achieve reaching power, lift for planing and further reduces drag.  A canting keel helps to provide maximum righting moment to optimise uphill sailing.  These features combine to allow us to be both very light and powerful making the boat as quick as possible in displacement mode, early to transition and simply fast in planning mode.  The sail locker is reflective of an offshore boat.  By working with Doyle NZ from the start we have been careful to engineer the boat and spars to manage the high loads demanded by the sail makers to optimise the sail shapes and ranges on all sails but particularly fractional and mast head code sails.

Whilst there are some crossovers in appearance (foils and canting keel) the hull form design and sail locker means that Maverick is not just a short version of the new IMOCA 60.

Having decided on the concept, the team then worked hard on the minutiae to keep the weight off and to reduce the complexity.  The spotlight on detail was unrelenting with an ongoing dialogue to make sure that the best possible components were picked to achieve the right balance, for us, between performance and cost.

We race with 6 to 8 crew so "sail-ability" was a priority.  Being fast is one thing, maintaining speed consistently another.  The boat systems had to be refined to allow long periods of short handed sailing, constantly balancing the need to finish with the need for speed and the need to minimise the wear and tear on both vessel and people.  Many hours were spent on "string" layout and functionality, optimum sail plans and shapes, furling and reefing systems.

Accurate information is essential to optimising performance.  Following the adage "bad data in equals bad decisions out", we dedicated our efforts to making sure we can collect accurate information, particularly boat speed.  No mean challenge on a boat that spends a lot of time planing.  With the weight/performance trade off front of mind the need for power to drive hydraulic pressure, water, data and instruments required a series of fine judgements.  In the end we have opted for a hydro generator, batteries and water maker.  Light and environmentally friendly.

After taking a novel approach on the boat, we then took a slightly different tack to building the team.  We wanted a core group of experienced sailors but more importantly people who would come with an open mind, commit to the potential of the program and who were proven team players.  We needed good all rounders, there is no room for specialisation, and we would make no distinction between gender, or the oft misunderstood designation "professional or amateur".  In short we wanted a team that could collectively act as Maverick not a collection of Mavericks.

To round things out we have ongoing advice from Hugh, Gordon, and Justin Ferris at Doyle Sails NZ.  With the odd ringer thrown in to push the team to a higher level, be that a well known navigator or a member of the emerging talent program that we plan to run.

The genesis of Maverick, the ambition and ethos for the team, occurred on a grey day running up the Derwent to Hobart; a venue we hope to revisit in the next 2 years.  In the interim the plan is to race Maverick at regattas around the world showcasing the power of DSS, the technology from our carefully chosen suppliers and the talents of Team Maverick. 

Join us as we follow our path, which we have designed to be a little less ordinary.