Evaluation of the first performances >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

After a collision at the start line reduced the double-handed Class40 fleet from seven to six teams, Globe40 competitors have completed the first 2000nm leg and are preparing for the second 7000nm Cape Islands leg -Green in Mauritius. With that to begin on July 17, US competitor Joe Harris shares this assessment of their early performances:

1. We certainly could have been more aggressive as we sailed wide from the start in Morocco towards Madeira, where we ended up losing some ground. However, we were already having autopilot issues and changed from one ram to the other, only to find that the second was also malfunctioning.

So we had to steer the boat by hand almost all the time and had many incidents where the pilot just got away – which he normally never does – sending the boat into a crash or jibe, which which is a real pain in the ass to get out of, especially at night when it’s easy to get disoriented.

The mainsail and jib are backsail, the boat is angled at an extreme angle and you have to slowly release one thing at a time to get the boat off the irons and go and then point in the right direction. It sucked and must have happened a dozen times because either the driver failed or either Roger or I made a mistake due to exhaustion.

We eventually replaced one of the rams with an old ram that was leaking hydraulic fluid slightly, but it has worked remarkably well for the past four days. But we lose a lot of time because of the driver problem.

2. I think we could have sailed more aggressively in terms of sail plan, but quite honestly I’m still in my solo sailor helmet where you aim to get the boat moving fast, but not out of control. As a solo sailor your top priority is to take care of the boat and yourself, while in double handed sailing there is a lot more pressure to load the sail and push the limits.

I think we had our smallest A6 spinnaker up at times when others had their big A2 kites up and they were going faster, but still fading from time to time. Maybe somewhere in the middle is philosophically the right place to be, but you can be heavily rewarded for pushing the limits and you can also pay the price for trashing a sail or part of the boat.

My mantra is ‘you have to finish to win’ so I’m taking a step back, but I’m definitely feeling the pressure to be more aggressive and Roger and I frequently discuss our sailing and course choices and decisions.

3. The boat held up well downwind, especially after we (Roger) made a huge effort to get all the weight off the bow and piled everything in the stern. When it was windy we also loaded water ballast on the stern which really stabilizes the boat and allows the pilot to steer without fading in gusts of up to 25k. However, newer boats have a more “bow up” attitude and I think in particular Moroccan boat #133 goes very smooth and easy downwind with less effort. Not much to do for that!

4. We try to maintain clean, dry living conditions so we can eat and rest, but sometimes everything feels damp and the exhaustion is overwhelming. Again, I think back to my solo circumnavigation where I was preparing the boat so I could just watch it, rather than keep pushing it. Doubles racing takes more energy and aggression, so for the 62-year-old guys, you have to dig pretty deep to find that extra gear…. at least me.

I’ve lost about 20 pounds since leaving Maine – partly from stress and partly from physical exertion and eating less. It is not easy. Fortunately, my co-skipper Roger is a strong man of 38 who has a great capacity for work and who quickly learns this game. And we share the work with the bow and all the chores, because everything is easier for two against one.

As all steps count towards the cumulative score, longer distances are weighted more heavily. The first stage, which lasted seven to eight days, had a coefficient 1 while the second stage is classified as a coefficient 3 stage which is expected to take around 35 days.

Race detailsStartersTracker

First leg results:

The inaugural Globe40 is an eight-stage round-the-world race for Class40 double-handed teams. The first leg began on June 26, with all legs counting towards the aggregate score, with longer distances being weighted more heavily. The race is expected to end in March 2023.

Tangier, Morocco

Sao Vincente, Cape Verde Islands
Port Louis, Mauritius
Auckland, New Zealand
Papeete, French Polynesia
Ushuaia, Argentina
Recife, Brazil
St Georges, Grenada

Lorient, France

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