Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Il Mostro comes home

Il Mostro is Puma's first entry into the Volvo Ocean Race, a 37,000 nautical mile race around the globe. It is one of the fastest single hulled sailing ships in the world, capable of achieving speeds in excess of 40 knots. (46.1 mph)

I had a great opportunity to work with Puma to shoot the Volvo Ocean Race Pro-Am here in Boston back on May 10th. New England native and Il Mostro skipper Ken Reed had high expectations for his crew after a disastrous homecoming on leg 6 in which they were forced to sit offshore in sight of Boston for over an hour waiting on the wind.

My day started by joining fellow photographer Jeff Tamagini and heading down to Puma city, a large 11,000 square foot store and office space designed out of cargo containers. We met up with Heather & Kristina from Puma to sign paperwork, go through a safety briefing, and all the other fundamentals that you would expect from a large event.

After that we were escorted down to the docks to meet up with our rib boat crew. A rib boat is a small (16' in our case) inflatable boat with a hard fiberglass floor. Puma had arranged for Jeff and I to be out on the course during the warm up period, and then shoot from alongside the course during the actual races.

Skipper Ken Reed (far left) warms up his crew in Boston Harbor before the first race of the day.

Due to wind conditions, the races were head to head instead of a 7 team fleet with the course being laid out across the harbor instead of a traditional windward/leeward arrangement. With the winds gusting in the 20s the boats would have simply been too fast to be safe during a run downwind. Fortunately the change in course layout didn't affect the hometown team as Puma won their first race of the day to lift the spirits of the Boston crowd.

The amateur sailors quickly learn the truth in the sailing adage "One hand for you, one hand for the boat" as Il Mostro leans heavily to starboard during the first race.

While most of the races were close, Puma left the competition in their wake and when it was all said and done, Puma had won both of their races and took home the day's bragging rights. The momentum from the day carried forward as Puma ended up in 2nd place overall at the end of the 2009 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, an unbelievable feat for a team in their inaugural race.

Puma's Il Mostro crosses the finish line during their 2nd Pro-Am race to finish 1st in the day's racing.


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