Keeping It Light

With a light forecast and a short leg, Volvo teams are shedding pounds everywhere they can.

With the light-air forecast Team News Corp has made sure their boat is as light as possible. All the others are doing the same, but Matt Humphries explained the basic weight-saving measures he's undertaken."It starts by making sure we have a really, really good understanding of what conditions we'll have for the leg. With 17 sails available for the leg we start there, determining which sails we can afford to leave behind. For tomorrow we'll leave five behind, giving us a savings of more than 40 kilos."Then we start going through the food bags. With a short leg and light air we won't burn as much energy, so we don't need to take any more than what we really need. Next, there's also the crew gear¿again, only what we need. No two sets of thermals, we'll show up on race day wearing what we're going to race in. That saves a few kilos. Then we dropped two crew and that saves about a quarter of a ton because we don't have to take their food, wet-weather gear, and even their safety gear. So all that's off as well. Each 40 kilos of weight we take off, the boat rises one millimeter, and when you're running in light air, that's a lot."Our game plan is to make the boat as light as possible and will do all that we can within the rules. That means, no toothbrushes, toolboxes, or spares¿we're taking only what we need to race the boat."