A workout

A breakdown of what gybing involves on board Renault Captur: "be sure that it's worth it because the manoeuvre is hard work"

Emails from the boats FEB 4, 2015 21:43

The sun is always shining in the Indian Ocean, and I can tell you that the afternoons are particularly hot, and at night even under the moon the temperature is quite high for such wild and cold regions. To warm up even more we are confined within a 100-miles west wind corridor, and gybing downwind waiting to run south-east to Australia.

I offer a brief explanation of how to gybe (or jibe) on an IMOCA 60:

First, be sure that it's worth it because the manoeuvre is hard work. Then, starting with the stack, i.e. shifting from left to right (or vice versa) all the stored gear: the sails, tools and spare parts, the personal kit, the food in 15kg bags (15 bags of it); a total of some 500kgs all-inclusive. Obviously downwind you have to keep the bags and sails at the back of the boat, in the bowels of Renault Captur, to prevent the boat from nose-diving into the waves. So, to be well organised, you can first count on doing a quarter of an hour of weight training.

Oh yes, I forgot, before you start, take off your waterproofs, polar layers and other warm gear. At the end of this stacking session, a quick refreshment and then it’s time to start again on the preparation of the cockpit: Bring the mainsail almost in line (with the wind), ease the traveller, centre the mast rotation, prepare the new windward running backstay in the wind.

So, it’s ready. We get into position – one at the helm, and the other ready to trim at the pedestal grinder.

Ready? Here we go: disconnect the autopilot and bear off to 150° downwind; re-check everything out of the corner of my eye and centre the keel; bear off, and at the same time ease the gennaker sheet, allowing the sail to go to leeward as fast as possible; push the wheel over (if possible while catching a surfing wave) and stay in the downwind axis, balanced to give the mainsail time to cross from one side to the other. Then trim on the gennaker; ease the mainsail; sheet in the running backstay hard for power. Then reconnect the auto-pilot; go to the pedestal winch to finish sheeting in the gennaker; then put the keel back to the windward side; tidy up the cockpit; trim the sails for the right heading; grab the helm and get ready to go!

All in all it’s 30 minutes for the manoevure. This is competitive, but very good!

à bientôt sur l'eau..

Seb & Jorg

42°554'71 S/064°23' 765 W