Dragons take their first maiden

djuice, the Volvo race entry, sets sail for her first time

Sunday April 8th 2001, Author: Lizzie Green, Location: United Kingdom
The brand new Volvo 60 djuice.com set sail for the first time at on 23 March, sailing out of Biscayne Bay and into the open waters of south Florida. After leaving the enclosure of the channel in calm conditions with a light breeze of 5-10 knots and only the main hoisted, the genoa was raised within one hour and the spinnaker followed 30 minutes later.

It was an intense period for the entire team from the time they arrived at Derecktor's yard in Fort Lauderdale to the moment they hit the water on 19 March, yet things went smoothly and without any major problems. Skipper Knut Frostad said: "It was by far the best launch I have ever had. From when we stepped the rig to when we hit the water took only one and a half days."

The only cloud on the operation was a literal one that came in the form of a tornado that blew over Florida just as the first boat was being launched. The team went into overdrive to strap down the boats as high winds, lightning and thunder rolled across the yard. Lightning struck 200m from the boat - testing the nerves of the team. "I didn't like it," said Frostad. "The launch was delayed for two hours."

For technical shore manager Laurie Smith, "relief" was the only word that came to mind as the boat set sail. "Our job now is to maintain the boats, repair breakages - as we know things will break - and to continue to make the boats go faster." Designer Laurie Davidson was also on hand for the maiden sail and said proudly: "She looks absolutely lovely."

The second boat djuice.com II is currently back on the hard but will be returned to the water very soon for her first sail.

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