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post #3815 of Old 02-10-2013
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Re: Solo sailing

Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Some fantastic piece of video posted by Stamm recently where he appears to be an amateur. of course it is not the case, he is one of the best, just look at this video from an old 2001 Atlantic transat record:

What happened on this video was a problem with the autopilot and one, that he know now, persisted all race. It is quite amazing that with a fundamental piece of material working with problems he would have had the confidence to drive the boat as hard as he had done (he lead the race and was a long time fighting for the lead).

This happened on the first days of the race, offshore Portugal and he explains what happened:

with the running minutes on the movie:


Bernard is running downwind at 25 knots boatspeed under main and small spinnaker. There is a problem with his starboard hydrogenerator and he starts the cockpit video recorder to show him going over the back of the boat to disconnect it.


At this moment, the autopilot unexpectedly switches off and the boat accidentally gybes, putting the spinnaker on the wrong side, pinning the boom against the runner and the boat lays flat in the water and stops. "Lucky I didn't break anything," says Bernard. "That was a miracle."


He goes to release the runner, but remembers that he has used the runner tail temporarily to lash on the hydrogenerator he'd been working on, so he has to climb up to untie it first. Meanwhile, you can hear the autopilot off-course alarm going off.


Bernard manages to ease the backstay. The sail stacked outboard is his genoa, which was fastened on, but not very tightly. The boat begins to move and you see Bernard steering, while also trying to operate the canting keel, which is on the wrong side. You hear the motor for that beginning at 4:05 and gradually the boat begins to come upright and tear off again downwind.


Another brief accidental gybe. This happened "three or four times" that afternoon.


Bernard says he's wondering here what's going on. "It was about an hour before I could stabilise the pilot enough to find a way to get it to steer while I got on the phone to the shore team to tell them we had a real problem we needed to sort out or I would not get past Portugal," he explains.

His autopilot problems persisted all the way round the world. "We solved a lot of problems, but we never got the real one. There must have been a bug," he says.

Accidental gybe - laid flat | Yachting World

Quand les ennuis commençaient à bord de... por VendeeGlobeTV
Great video on Bernard, I was impressed with his sailing ability, the ability to comprehend and all most instantly make corrections to a very serious problem. I know these guys are professional and they are all great sailors and great athletes. Watching the video you can see Bernard observing everything around him as he works, trying to put all that has happened into a book in his mind and sorting it all out in near perfect order.

The quick thinking and how Bernard went about fixing a serious problem shows most likely that he had thought often of things that can go wrong. One does not have to think of that exact situation before it happens to be able to solve the problem but a series of smaller problems fixed or thought deeply about that related to this type of situation.

As serious sailors and cruisers I hope we all are spending the time to go over situations that could be serious to you and your crew. Always be thinking, observing, spend time to " WHAT IF?"


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