The countdown has now begun with numerous tests designed to observe the sail configurations as well as the team members. 'At this second stage of the project our objective is to make sure everything works smoothly and properly,' notes skipper Bouwe BEKKING (NED). 'We'll also start to engage the human side of the operation, putting each person at their post on the boat'.
Using the Farr blueprints and the structural calculations of SP Systems, the Boatspeed shipyard has employed 2,500 kilos of carbon, using a technology similar to that used in the new Airbus 380 passenger airplane.
Australian born Andrew CAPE, winner of the last America's Cup, manages the electronic components of the boat and fully knows the responsibility involved in his area of activity: 'We cannot accept a single electronic error in the boat's monitoring or in reception of information. The entire electronic system has undergone rigorous controls to ensure quality and safety'. Nearly 1,000 metres of cabling have been carefully set throughout the boat to handle essential information gathering and data transmission (including weather conditions, video, audio and photography).
Another of the race's newcomers, Athens 2004 Olympic gold medallist, Xabi FERNÁNDEZ (ESP), has started his involvement in the second phase of the project. FERNÁNDEZ will be joined by Olympic teammate Iker MARTÍNEZ: 'We're just starting to test the maneuverability of the boat and as of yet have used 1,200 metres between the halyards, sheets and ropes.'
The last phase of the preparation, to be followed by another of six months after arriving in Galicia, will begin with the boat's sail to Brazil, broken by a short 24 hour stop in New Zealand's capital Wellington. This segment will reproduce the exact route of the fourth, and perhaps most difficult leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, travelling through Cape Horn,up the Eastern coast of South America and over to Río de Janeiro.