And here we go again, 'Nice one mates!'
In just less than six days after Azzam's arrival in to Cape Town, the team from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Future Fibres has pulled off quite an impressive rigging feat. "I think everyone should be very proud of what we have achieved over the past week - this is both a very exciting and nervous moment for us, but now it's time to dial Azzam back in for racing," said Ian Walker.
It has no doubt been a challenging month for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, and it doesn't seem like long ago that we were drifting in the Med, deliberating whether to sail to Cape Town or not with the new rig being held vertical by old rigging. The logic of shipping prevailed, and I do not think anyone has regretted it since. Especially considering how many stars aligned in order for us to be back sailing this afternoon.
Logistically, we had a massive effort from everyone. From our Team Director, Jamie Boag, literally getting his hands dirty putting Azzam on the ship in Lisbon to Craig Satterthwaite’s meticulous oversight of the new rigging which was made in Spain and finally installed in Cape Town. Each member of the team has had to put in a bit extra than what they had probably originally bargained for. But as Ben Davis our lead boat-builder said to me yesterday: "that's the nature of the beast with the Volvo, and it wouldn't be a rush without it".
We are also reminded by Puma's misfortune and the potentially worse situation we could have found ourselves in had we made the decision to sail instead of ship. Looking back, I didn't envy Ian in the slightest having to make those kinds of game time calls. The foresight of what lay ahead for us at the time was next to impossible for anyone to even hazard a guess at, let alone logistically decide for. But there was no prolonged hesitation, the call was made and off we went. Since then, with the help of many very capable people, the entire saga has been dubbed a huge success. As our Emirati crew member, Adil Khalid, told us yesterday: "We're hungry and we're coming home".
While the breeze is looking relatively moderate for our first test this afternoon, this weekend should be a different story. Forecast are already showing potential for 30+ knots on the course for Saturday's in port race in Table Bay - with similar, if not more, for the leg start Sunday. More to come after our first look at the new gear...