Team Philips is back
The Goss camp are not saying how long the Adrian Thompson-designed cat is going to be at sea this time. The word is they will take things step-by-step as they go through an exhaustive check-list at the beginning of what, by any standards, will be a mad scramble by the team to make the start of The Race on New Year's Eve.
Initially the main area of concern will be the two huge wingmasts which have both been re-configured at their bases after the port mast experienced a structural failure just four hours into the second set of sea trials in early October. But Goss and co will also be watching very carefully to see how the overall structure behaves after the major re-design and re-build of both hulls earlier in the summer. Remember, Team Philips has only sailed in anger for a total of four days and four hours, so there is a lot to learn.
The wave-piercing cat will certainly get a dose of authentic Southern Ocean weather over the next three days with a big depression bringing with it 50-knot squalls. Vicky Williams, a spokeswomen for Goss at the Team Philips Mission Control, said the boat could be at sea for up to three days or even a week. It may then return to Dartmouth or another port. She said she did not expect to hear from Goss for a while, summing it up in his own catchphrase: 'He's going to let Team Philips do the talking.'
Williams said the current plan is for the boat to set sail for Monaco for The Race prologue by the beginning of December so that it will arrive by December 13th. She said the 2,500-mile passage to the south of France would almost certainly become the boat's official qualifier for The Race.
Summing up another critical week for this syndicate, Williams said: 'Basically they are just going out into the English Channel and the boat will do the talking with the weather and they are going to see how she goes and just practice, practice, practice."