Design Analysis

PlayStation co-designer Pete Melvin comments on differences he sees among the top four boats in The Race - interview by Sean McNeill for
Editor's Note: Pete Melvin's dual career paths in aerospace engineering and sailboat racing converged with the formation of Morrelli & Melvin Design and Engineering. After graduating from Boston University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering, Melvin worked as an advanced design engineer and team leader of aircraft design at McDonnell Douglas. He competed in the 1988 Olympic Games and recently won the 1997 A-Class Catamaran World Championship. Melvin, 38, and Gino Morrelli created the 125-foot long, 60-foot wide catamaran PlayStation that's competing in The Race. Melvin chose his warm desk chair and stayed shoreside to watch the race, while his partner chose a damp bunk aboard PlayStation. Here, Melvin comments on design differences he noticed among PlayStation, Club Med, Team Adventure and Innovation Explorer after touring the boats before the start in Barcelona, Spain. The interview was conducted prior to PlayStation's withdrawal through sail and collision damage. What's your impression of how The Race has progressed since starting? No one could predict what was going to happen, but it's interesting that the boatspeed among the three (Gilles) Ollier cats is relatively close. It's harder to draw conclusions with PlayStation because we're in different weather. But we're holding our own or gaining in the same conditions. How did the crewmembers feel about the boatspeed when they stopped in Gibraltar after racing for two days? They felt the boatspeed was quite good. They were next to Club Med a lot. In a straight line, they felt slightly faster. They did some extra manoeuvers, which cost time, and they'd probably rethink some of their strategy if they had to sail out the Med again. But that's behind us. They're all very upbeat with their chances and how the boat was going. Has anything in The Race surprised or disappointed you? Not really. Things seem