So much build up! So much planning! So many emotion!
Finally, 6 St Lucian, 4 from Gran Canaria and 2 Brits joined Challenger 1 today. I can’t think of a time where a crew has joined my boat with So much expectation.
The training had to start somewhere. People always ask me “how do you prepare a person/crew for such a big challenge?”. For me in this case the answer is easy… “Take them offshore”. The ARC is an offshore race after all. Offshore I where they will be tested, offshore is where we will train.
The job of introducing and setting the scene on these long trips is still a job that daunts me. I’m mindful and conscious that I have 5 languages onboard, English being the common one, and that my accent is maybe more difficult for our non-British participant too.
Every briefing is about the recipient. It’s not about me getting the most impressive detail into the conversation, it’s not about me talking for hours with no action, and it’s not about everyone understanding every part or step. It about the recipient, knowing what they need to do to be safe and to be a part of the operation. It’s not about me!
Training Day 1
We began in what I think is a normal way, a simple meet and greet, around the table, coffee in hand: name, background, sailing experience and the part you’re nervous about.
I was amazed, no one shied away, and no one refused to answer. Full answer. Clearly everyone here had a “Want” to be here. We all listened to each other, even jokes crossed the language. Amazing!
A walk around deck and below followed by lunch and a lifejacket brief and before we all realised there was nothing left to do but go sailing.
Outside of the marina, a few details about winches and straight into a mainsail hoist. 250KG of sail, 30 meters to the top of the mast in less than 90 Second! Incredible! The same quickly followed with a Yankee (front sail) hoist, different group, equally impressive.
Light breeze forced us offshore further than intended but a man overboard drill made room for our first Sail change. Again well performed, and well understood. And our final manoeuvre, shortly after Sunset was a Gybe to take us south of Gran Canaria and into a watch System. It’s important that every one understands the need to keep a watch, and there is really no better place to see why. Lots of traffic, fishing gear, helming in the dark, changing Sea and weather condition.
Skipper Challenger 1 - ARC Youth Team