Team Philips set for launch
by Andy McKenzie

Team Philips are optimistic their eagerly awaited launch will go ahead as scheduled on February 29.

  • Fears that adverse weather conditions would force the team to abandon plans to hoist the revolutionary catamaran into the River Dart in Devon, England have eased.

  • "If I was a betting man and I wanted to see the boat hit the water, I’d turn up," said Pete Goss, skipper of Team Philips.

  • Lee Bruce, the team’s meteorologist, has been studying historical data and current trends in the hope of determining if the 120ft long craft - the world’s largest pure carbon structure - will finally make it into the water for the first time.

  • "I’m more optimistic than I was this time yesterday [February 27]," said Bruce. "There has been a good reduction in the wind behind the front which passed through overnight. We hope that history will repeat itself."

  • Because of the boat’s insurance policy, Team Philips can only be lifted into the water if the wind strength is below 15 knots.

  • There was earlier disappointment, when the original launch plans had to be refined, with the 135ft masts – each worth £1m on the open market - needing an extra week’s work. They will now be added once the boat has hit the water and moved to the Dart Marina, Dartmouth.

  • "This has always been a major technical challenge," added Goss. "It is difficult to apply definitive timescales to something like this. It’s completely new - like the Wright brothers wheeling their plane out of the shed and winging it."

  • The interest in the team has been growing, with more than 9,000 people turning up to watch the finishing touches being applied to the boat on February 27.

  • The organisers have estimated that 20,000 people could be present when, weather permitting, the catamaran is hoisted into the River Dart by a 225 tonne crane.

  • Goss plans to enter the boat in the Jules Verne Trophy in March in preparation for The Race, a non-stop, no assistance, round the world event, starting on December 31, 2000 from Barcelona, Spain.
Back to

© 2000 Worldsport Networks Ltd Written by Andy McKenzie

Contact me Look at my CV More stuff