With the count down to the start of the Transat AG2R well under way (14 days to go!) the last week has been spent in full double handed training mode. The majority of our preparations have been underway for a while now, the food is all packed away and we have all the majors covered so now it’s about the details. Fine tuning how to get the best reception for the Irridium sat phone, installing a mini fan to cool things down in the tropics, looking into seating solutions to avoid bumrash. The list goes on but at this stage I’m glad we are more concerned with salt water shampoo and routine engine servicing than fixing any serious electrical faults sourcing extra safety gear.
Our training session with CEM coach and Figaro legend Nico Berenger alongside the Spanish team on GAES was quite eye opening. Time on the water is always good, especially when you are sharing that bit of water with six IMOCA 60s training out of Port la Foret, but for me the highlight the talking afterwards. If provided with a comfy chair and enough cups of tea Nico was happy to share his wealth of French knowledge about how to work a double handed partnership and the weather in the North Atlantic.
It seems a fairly standard model among the really experienced guys not to work as a totally even partnership on the boat. By giving one person the navigator or skipper’s role and making the other guy helmsman and chief of boat speed it saves getting into endless discussions and never making a firm decision. Obviously all the big calls will be talked about by both of us but I think there is a lot to be said for agreeing beforehand who has the last word. With watches the idea is to be a bit flexible on timings depending on how pleasant things are on deck with the guy at the helm always reserving the right to wake the other one up the moment they feel their performance is begging to slide. So long as we are on the same page with regard to our goals for the race then there shouldn’t be any worry about being perceived by the other as being lazy and wanting to sleep all day (not an option apparently).
I’m definitely looking forward to a weekend’s holiday in Devon, away from boats, before getting stuck in at the race village in Concarneua before the start on the 21st.