I got the chance to interview the Team Owner en Manager of the Puma Racing Team, Xavier Derille about the race in Benalmadena Spain. This race was under the auspices of the UIM. That says that this is the real stuff.
What happened with the Puma Racing Team at the start of heat 2
As you have seen, the weather conditions were not the best. At the start of heat 2 we had a very good start. We had a bit too much nose-lift during training and decided to provide 25 kg all the way in the front of the nose.
In order to offer us the indispensable view during the take-off procedure, we also had the flaps set.
During the race we both noticed an approaching wave just too late (00:21) and in a split second we were almost perpendicular to the water. The flaps hit the next wave and the bow flipped down.
In this near crash our Puma RIB once again illustrated its strength because we are well aware that it would have ended very differently with a different hull.
Benalmadena was indeed the first test on the high seas of this new foredeck cover in which we had invested about 150 hours during the winter period.
After our “semi nose dive” (after which we quasi immediately hit the accelerator again) we immediately noticed that the carbon-kevlar cover of the foredeck was making strange jumps.
The risk that we would lose this cover during the race was real and we would get a black flag. End of the race.
In addition, my co-pilot, Jeroen Haverbeke reported that trimming was no longer possible either. We had no other option than to finish the race.
We set out at an average speed of 70-80 kph and even had time to greet our numerous supporters as they crossed the finish line. So great to see they stand by us, no matter what.
After this incident-rich weekend it once again became clear that being present and finish the race is the conditio siné qua non.
RIBs ONLY thanks Xavier for this fine interview and wishes the team a next fast and safe race.