Ken Read is self-described as the “luckiest man alive” as far as his current job, skipper of Puma Ocean Racing’s il mostro in this year Volvo Ocean Race. Currently, Read and il mostro are sitting in third place by a comfortable point margin (11 points), but more importantly they are locked in a death battle with Telefonica Blue for second place, with only a half-point margin keeping separating the big red cat from this coveted real estate.
Given the highly competitive nature of the Volvo Ocean Race, Puma’s story is a brilliant one. This first-time comer to the VOR is in serious contention for a high-ranking podium finish for the race’s overall accolades. Given the fact that both the Telefonica and Ericsson programs are both second-generation programs, the fact that Puma is serious contention largely boils down to a case of exceptional leadership, fantastic teamwork, a great sail-design team, and a fast boat.
I caught up with Read less than 24 hours after il mostro sailed into Boston Harbor for a fourth-place finish in Leg 6, a disappointing finish given that Boston is Puma’s “hometown” (their North American headquarters is situated nearby). Yet despite this obvious disappointment, Read was in fine form, laughing, joking, and clearly enjoying his role as skipper. While Read has long distinguished himself as one of the best sailors of his generation, this upbeat, positive attitude is clearly one of the key factors explaining why this first-time team is sailing as fast as they are, and why they will be a serious contender until the race’s conclusion in St. Petersburg in late June/early July.
Listen to Part 1 of the Ken Read podcast.
Listen to Part 2 of the Ken Read podcast.