The Beneteau First 47.7 ‘EH01’ is crewed by 2 professional and 9 amateur
sailors in 2 crews of 5 each lead by Skipper Andras.
Watches (shifts) change 4 hr 24/7 giving the off-watch sufficient rest.
Most sail evolutions/changes can be done by the on-watch crew while more complex
manoeuvres require extra hands from the off-watch crew.
The ARC transatlantic crossing is timed to coincide with the easterly trade
winds so most of the sailing is downwind using the big Mainsail and a Spinnaker
aka kite, which billows out at the front and can be as large as a tennis
court. Other downwind sail variations exist, however this is our most effective
in one form or another. We carry a variety of spinnakers which differ in
material, weight and area and the skipper’s skill is in choosing the kite to
match the weather conditions and sea state. The mainsail can also be
modified to reduce the windage area in more lively conditions by putting in a reef.
A recent sail evolution (that happened at 0200 today)was that due to a wind
shift we wanted to be downwind – “Gybe” to optimise the real time sail power to
the wind shift. This involved more than the on watch crew having to bring the
spinnaker down,hoist a simpler and smaller fore-sail to maintain speed, and
enable the change of boat direction. Then re raise the kite behind the smaller
sail and lower and pack the small sail away.
Such interconnected operations have to be carefully and safely coordinated
and add to the overall crew and skipper enjoyment and bonding.