While listening to a panel of Volvo Ocean Race skippers and big-wigs do damage-control at a news conference last week, it occurred to me that this year's round-the-world race feels a lot like drag racing.
Those low-to-the-ground land vehicles go more than 330 mph and break speed records. The cars are on the forefront of design. New technology is tested right out there on the race track.
Of course, there are accidents.
"Anytime you are on the ragged edge of trying to get the car to get to the top of its performance, there are things that can happen," said Anthony Vestal, the media relations director for the National Hot Rod Association.
Those who have been able to navigate the practically impenetrable Volvo Ocean Race Web site know that in the first two legs of the Volvo race, four boats dropped out for repairs. There are only seven boats in the fleet - the smallest fleet in the race's history.
The drama for the next leg is not who will win, but who will finish. And a question for Annapolis taxpayers is how many boats will make into the newly dredged Spa Creek at the end of April?
At the Volvo news conference in Washington on Tuesday, Paul Cayard, who is skippering the Disney Boat Pirates of the Caribbean, compared himself to a Boeing test pilot - an apt comparison, since his boat, the new Volvo Open 70 class, hasn't been tested in a round-the-world race.
Cayard and the other racers said that they are "at the frontier" of ocean racing. They said the technology on their boats will trickle down to other racing yachts. And one can't help but feel that the race is essentially a round-the-world boat show.
Sailors at the news conference blamed themselves for the breakdowns - for not knowing how far they could push the new boats. "We as sailors might have pushed the limits a little too far," said Richard Mason, a crewmember aboard the Ericsson Racing Team boat. "At times we're pushing too hard because we're scaring ourselves."
Mike Sanderson, who skippers ABN AMRO ONE, said in an e-mail: "We all know we can throttle back and reduce the risks."
Don't get me wrong - the footage shown of these yachts in action is mind-boggling. The on-board cameras show waves smashing over the decks of the boats and the sailors wearing goggles.
Cayard predicted that his boat could go more than 600 miles in a day. He said he's getting 38 knots of boat speed.
We're crossing our fingers that they'll make it here.