I hope you all were able to view some of the photos from the Christening that I sent through last weekend. After days and days of rain, the afternoon remained crystal clear for P2’s first dip. There were at least 200 hundred guests, all representatives of Perini Navi and Beconcini, as well as some journalists and fellow Perini crew. The director of the shipyard, Mr. Vanni Marchini gave a speech (which Susanna translated into English); then Giancarlo Ragnetti gave his speech, which Susanna also translated into English. And then I also said a few words (in Italian) which Susanna also playfully translated into English. Alanna then wielded the curved axe and chopped the line that held the champagne bottle poised above the bow anchor. Her slice was as straight as Mrs. Andlinger’s was for Perseus back in 2001. With the explosion of the bottle, the horns blared and P2 was lowered into the water.
The yard did a excellent job of presenting both the inside and outside of the boat. Considering that just days before, workmen were crawling everywhere and that all areas were either covered or under construction, I was amazed at how the Beconcini team pulled everything together in time for the presentation. The deck, arch, helm stations, center pod, and especially the low profile superstructure looked great. The mast and boom, dressed with the incredible black PBO rigging also caused numerous gasps. The salon looked particularly impressive. The carpenters brought almost all of the finished furniture on board and these elements together with the crisp white interior and the gorgeous brown leather panels combined to create a light, airy salon – ultra modern and very cool.
A delicious buffet was served in the yard while the workers had the opportunity to bring their families on board for a look at their handy work. The “vibe” was excellent; many veterans commented that it was the best launch party since the Perseus bash 7 years ago.
On Sunday, the day after the launch, our Naval Architect, Yannick Abgrall and I visited P2 again, this time to check her trim. The yard kindly lowered P2 back in the water and allowed the straps to go completely slack (to ensure that we were actually floating). Yannick and I then jumped in a small tender so we could take some preliminary freeboard measurements. Yannick was very pleased with what he saw – P2 sat with no list and perfectly trim bow and stern. As you can see in the photo below, we are floating high on our marks, but that is to be expected for now as we have no sails on board, no tenders, no fluids, no cushions, no mattresses, nor any interior furnishings. By the way, the current weight is 130 tons, with those items mentioned above still to be installed. Our target race weight two years ago was 135 tons and so we are very much on target.
Once the freeboard measurements were complete, we re-hauled P2 and placed her back on the cradles. As suggested in my last report, the yard did not achieve the system functionality they had hoped for before stopping work to clean up for the launch and so Mr. Marchini gave the order to re-haul the boat so work could continue more efficiently. That was June 15.
Today, June 22, P2 is still dry-docked with numerous contractors on board every day. Graham and I have been told that the biggest single component that is preventing the yard from re-launching the boat is the electrical/electronic installation. Accurate and reliable control of the main engine, generators, bilge system, fire alarms, keel, and sail system have not been achieved. Mr. Marchini indicated that on June 28th the yard will re-launch P2 in order to perform our stability and inclination tests with our classification society (because this certificate takes a minimum of 30 days to be issued). If system functionality has been achieved by this date, then P2 will remain in the water. Dock and Sea trials and final interior detailing would begin a week after that requiring the usual month for completion.
From our side, we are ready to jump as soon as the boat is delivered. We are at the yard every day, inspecting areas that require preliminary acceptance, making sure the construction team doesn’t seal up compartments before they have been signed off, developing our operational guidelines and inventories so that they can be implemented as soon as the handover takes place. We have created a preliminary punch list and have delivered phase 1 to the yard. Three of our five crew are on site (Graham, Andy and I) and the other two will begin at the end of June. The minimum outfitting and furnishing requirements are nearly complete, stored in a container at the shipyard. We are crewed up for the Rolex, with rooms and dockage reserved. I have not as yet pulled the trigger on the mid-August training event due to the launching delays that we are seeing now. I will make the decision before July 10, 30 days out from the event as to whether or not to move forward with this training session.
Despite the frustration evident in the last half of this report, I do want to end on a more positive note. You know that because we are at the yard every day, we sometimes lose sight of how unique this project is. Our launch party reminded us of this and revived us nicely — every person who attended was absolutely blown away by the shape of P2 and by the boldness of the intended program — from International magazine editors, to yacht brokers, to fellow Perini crew. Our website is getting many hits every day; crew I have never met are asking to be part of our program. And that makes us feel pretty good and provides a nice balance to the daily battles we wage at the yard.
From the front lines…
Jonathan, Alanna, Graham and Andy