Ocean Racingon boardvor breaking

the main man

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Only Team Brunel and SCA showed some sack when splitting to the North a week ago, and while the loss of the J1 halyard may have tripped up the sailor chicks (and sent Dongfeng into DFL), Bouwe put the pedal down and leads by almost 40 miles going into the doldrums.  And as you can tell by the photo, the boys are in a great mood, and below, Bouwe talks about trimming the main on a VO65, exclusively for SA.  Be sure to check out the new and improved Team Brunel App to follow ’em.

Who doesn’t want to be the mainsheet trimmer on whatever boat you are sailing? Normally you are nicely tucked away behind all the guys, sitting on the rail, protected from spray and waves.  Your footrests are set up perfectly for your legs, so you can sit comfortably for hours, commanding your grinder buddy to trim on when necessary.  Easy.

But trimming the main on Team Brunel is another story, especially if you are reaching in big waves. The normal sitting position has disappeared, because the stack on deck has been moved aft and there is simply no
sitting place available anymore.  Even if you can find a couple of inches to squeeze your butt into, there’s nowhere to put your feet, as the footrests are far too close in and not allowed to be moved (thank you, one-design ;-).  So, now you have three options:

1) Sit on top of the stack – this gives you a great view of the waves coming in, but it’s bloody wet and quite dangerous, since you might get hit hard by a big greeny and washed over the side (even with your tether clipped on).  This is the least favored option.

2) Sit next to the mainsheet winch – this means you are sitting on the floor, unable to see a single wave.  The danger here is getting smacked in the face by big waves that come over the cabintop, with nothing to really hold on to.  Again, not a favorite.

3) The last option is standing just in front of the steering wheel, on top of the footrail.  Here you’re protected from waves (relatively!) and you can hold on with one hand to the protective bar in front of the helm.  It’s by far the best option for sailing performance, but there is a catch: Now you’re balancing your full weight on a round bar while trying to press every tenth of a knot out of the boat.  You can see the relief on the main trimmer’s faces when the next crew gets their turn.

The best job in these conditions is definitely driving the bus, with grinding getting a close second spot.  The guy looking after the headsail is the 3rd best spot – all he has to do is get soaked every now and again – most of the trimming happens with the helm.  Meanwhile, the fourth favorite spot on the boat is the mainsheet trimmer.

Who would ever have thought that?

But the most hated job in these conditions is the person in charge of the so-called outrigger after the peel from a fractional to a jib.  The boat heels over 30 degrees or more, water washes continuously and contentiously over you, you have to re-run two extra jib sheets in the process of installing the outrigger (don’t forget to put the downline and do it the right way, also clip in the bungee as nothing keeps the outrigger in the
deckfitting), and yes don’t forget to mention clipping and unclipping yourself when moving around to the job. It is the most dangerous job aboard and all are relieved when the outrigger is in place and the pedal can get stepped down to 100%.

But how awkward all these jobs can be at moments…but the way the boat eats up the miles in these conditions?  That makes up for all of it.