Tech Helps Yacht Teams Race Around World

They call it the everest of sailing. 6 yachts are making their way around the world as a part of Volvo’s ocean race. The sailors have been chasing storms since November and they made their only North American stop in Miami.

I got to hop aboard the 70 foot Puma team yacht “Mar Mostro”, just off the coast of Miami beach. By the end of the race the boat will have traveled 40 thousand miles around the world all thanks to some high tech features on board.

Think yachting, and luxury might come to mind. But on this 70 foot sailboat that is simply not the case. Although packed with the latest technology, the “Mar Mostro” or Monster of the Sea isn’t exactly the place that comes to mind when considering where to spend nine months of your life.

“High tech is an understatement, we had a wake of really heavy stuff – waves coming over the side of the boat and very uncomfortable sea state,” explains Tom Addis, the navigator for Puma’s team.

Sponsor Puma hosted our trip to Miami, so they could show us where they eat, sleep and work.

I still can’t believe they let me steer the yacht, its equipped with a built in doppler speedometer – which measures going forward as well as sideways and no other boat in the world has anything like it.

Skipper Ken Read says, “The sails are patended with 3Di technology from norsails and it’s increased the durability three times – they are phenomonal sails made of kevlar”.

Up here it is information overload, windspeed, yacht speed, wind angle – the only thing these guys don’t have access to is info about the outside world, to keep the integrity of the race.

Navigator and mathematician Addis said, “We’ve got lots of computers and numbers and technology and sensors and that sort of stuff but you’ve got to fit that into a natural system such as the wind and waves”.

Whie the guy race, on-board cameras beam the action online, and the GPS lets virtual spectators see the fleet’s location in real time and 3-D.

They wouldn’t be out here if they didn’t like it. Especially since there’s no prize money at stake. Just bragging rights.

“It’s a passion and if you’re not enjoying it then you’re not going to last,” explains Amory Ross, Puma’s on – boardreporter.

The next leg of the race lands in Portugal and it will finish in Ireland in July. To learn more head the to their website by, clicking here.

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