Thursday, 21 May 2009

VOR: PUMA - Bolt vs. Il Mostro

Actress Salma Hayek gets a few points from the PUMA skipper, Kenny Read, while driving before the start of Leg 7. Image copyright Bizuayehu Tesfaye/PUMA Ocean Racing.

by Rick Deppe

Sitting here with Capey, talking about Salma... again. It was brilliant having her on the boat the other day for the start of Leg Seven from Boston to Galway. As you can imagine, she is a very lovely lady. It seems that since she christened the boat a little over a year ago, she gets briefed regularly on our progress and has been following some of our exploits. She seemed to really enjoy some of the stories from the crew and was especially grossed out by Ken's "manky" finger from his accident in the Straits of Taiwan. This conversation led to a discussion regarding our ‘late’ (according to the PR team) arrival in Boston. Turns out that Usain Bolt- the Olympic champion and athletics sensation from Jamaica, who wowed the world during the Beijing Olympics, was waiting for il mostro on the dock at Fan Pier. We took just that bit too long getting there and unfortunately he had to...ermm BOLT, a few hours before we made it into Boston.

It's hard to believe that we are part of the same team as Usain. I'm talking of course about the PUMA team, a diverse group to say the least. African football players, French race car drivers and golfers as well as pro skateboarders and many other sports.

This train of thought got me thinking about Usain and il mostro. Perhaps you can hear the cogs creaking in some under-used part of my brain. His event takes 9.6 seconds, and ours takes nine months! Usain covers 100 meters in I believe around 9.5 seconds. Currently, il mostro is travelling at a nice clip, around 15 knots (this is a nice average speed for us) and at this speed we will cover 100 meters in 12.5 seconds- not bad!

I think I'm on to something here.

Perfect trim is necessary for sailing at the best possible speed in the direction you want to go. Image copyright Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing.

il mostro's top speed during the Volvo Ocean Race so far was 40 knots, this was recorded on Leg Two. At that speed we covered 100 meters in around five seconds- not bad for an 18 ton sailboat. So by my reckoning and with all practicalities aside il mostro would easily be the 100 meters world champion! Our average speed around the world so far is around 12.3 knots. I figured this out by doing the day count so far and making a prediction on the balance. Its 135 days total for the race. The total distance for the race is around 40,000 nautical miles. Divide them and you have 296 miles per day, divide this by 24 and bingo, 12.3 knots.

Now it’s time to do it in metric and see how Usain does on a marathon: 40,000 nautical miles, multiplied by 1.85 (thanks Capey) equals 74,0000 kilometers, divide this by 135 and you get 548 kilometers per day. Divide this by 24 and now we know that our average speed around the world is 22.8 kilometers per hour. We already established that Usain competes at a remarkable 37.8 kilometers per hour so amazingly if he could run on water (some say he can!) and keep it going round the clock, he would make it the 70,0000 kilometers around the world in around 81 days. At that speed he would easily be winning the Volvo Ocean Race right now.

And at this point I'm going to sign off because this is getting silly! All is good here on the yacht.

PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race

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