PUMA Ocean Racing has christened its stunning new boat "il mostro" (Italian for "The Monster") before heading out to sea to complete its 2000-mile qualifier for the race which gets underway later in October.

Actress Salma Hayek broke the champagne across the bow at a ceremony in Boston on May 13th. Two days later Skipper Ken Read and his crew were joined by sister stablemate Avanti in undertaking the 2000-mile qualifier in the waters of the Atlantic.

"We're pretty much heading out and just seeing where the wind will take us," said Read. "The qualifier is probably something we could have done later in the summer, but we wanted to start checking off the boxes early on the things we needed to do before we get closer to the race."

PUMA team’s training base will be in Newport over the next four months with several short lead-up races planned for June including the Halfway Rock Race (6-7 June 6-7), NYYC Regatta (13-14 June) and Newport-Bermuda Race 2008 (20-22 June).

Via www.volvooceanrace.com.