OK, I've managed to pull myself together to some extent and I can start to write my reports on the Sodeb'O trip.
I suppose it would be appropriate to show a couple of photos from the afternoon's sailing, so I've attached them below.
The first image is what it looks like to approach the leeward ama of Sodeb'O when she's luffed-up. We pulled up to the ama and a huge foam pad was lowered that we climbed over to get to the nets. A nice sea of about 5-6 feet was running, so it made for a fun time while holding a video camera in one hand.
The second image is pretty obvious. This is what the leeward ama bow looks like when the boat is loafing along at 26 knots and two reefs tucked in the main.
The third frame is Thomas Coville and myself out on the forward aka and tramp. I got to talk to Coville during this session for about 15-20 minutes before we had a minor scramble when the boat was hit with a gust well up into the mid thirties. Sodeb'O took the burst in stride, stuffed the leeward ama under water up to the forward beam and then gathered up and pushed all that power into forward thrust.
It never felt like anything ugly was happening at all. The crew just tended the sheets, watched the ama and cruised right through it. Such a wonderful boat with so many forgiving qualities.
The last frame shows the guest crew getting principal instructions from Thomas when we were all first aboard. I'm the one with the waterpoof dive camera shooting video of Coville as he gave us the lay of the craft and what he expected.
This guy, Thomas Coville, is simply, a real nice man. I'm not saying that because he's one of the reigning Kings in the business. Generally, I'm just not that much in awe of famous people as I'm mostly looking to see just how much humanity they display and with what level of arrogance. I'm happy to say that Coville is a very regular guy with a full package of extraordinary talents. No artifice, no posing, just a straight forward person with an abundance of charm and easy going manners. In fact, every single one of Coville's crew members share these traits; they are really happy people with a genuine willingness to share their knowledge. They are deeply rich in the experience of sailing large scale multihulls at speed. Ask them a question about the boat, or multihull sailing in general and you not only get an answer, but they offer a personal embellishment that takes your simple question and turns it into a fountain of information. If you are taken technicaly and/or romantically by these amazing boats, you just naturally want to spend time around these guys.
When Coville told us he would answer any questions; he meant it, as throughout the day of sailing, I managed to get several one on one sessions with him, typically lasting 15-20 minutes each time. I asked many potentially sensitive questions and each and every one was answered with a type of gentle kindness and self confident behavior that spoke of a guy who does not need to hide anything. We talked about family issues, Joyon, technical decisions about the boat... both now and in the future, his career, education... just all kinds of stuff.
Oh, did I say that I got to drive the boat, as well? Yeah, the carbon wheel fell into my hands and I had an absolute friggin' blast. More on that later with the full report, but I will tell you this; It was nothing like any boat I've ever driven. Not trying to cast it in any pseudo, UFO kind of mystique at all, it just handled in a very special way which required a different type of sensory approach.
So, that's the tease, boys. Ask any questions you would like and I'll do my best to answer them from what I learned during the entire day.
Oh, one last thing. After the sailing, we got to drive over to the Sodeb'O compound and snoop around inside while waiting for Coville to join us for dinner. The shop setup is a big huge fenced yard with two monster warehouse buildings inside. Well, inside the Sodeb'O shop, sitting up on support cradles getting a "bring it up to snuff" session, was the ORMA 60 Sodeb'O all naked and homely, just asking to be explored. More on that as well.
The images shown below were taken by Kjetil Simonsen and are copyrighted. I do not think that Kjetil will mind if you download them for your PERSONAL enjoyment, but please do not use them for commercial applications without his permission. I can put you in touch with him if you desire this type of use.
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