Some great video off SCA. First we see an accidental gybe that…

Some great video off SCA. First we see an accidental gybe that interrupted an interview with Libby down below, with shouts from the deck to “Put the vang on! Put the vang on!”

I’m guessing that quickly tensioning the hydraulic boom vang might be helpful in terms of supporting the mast, or in keeping the main free of the old (now leeward) running backstay, or something like that.

In the view from the stern camera you can hear the helmswoman shouting, “I haven’t got it! I haven’t got it!” as the gybe is beginning. Maybe turbulence under the stern lessened the effectiveness of the rudder. The rudders on the Volvo 65 are small, to reduce drag, but that makes control an issue.

I’m surprised they were able to recover so quickly. I credit the helmswoman for that; she must have been able to use whatever steerageway she had from the boat’s forward motion to crank them back onto starboard gybe before the lee helm of being heeled over forced them around to the point of no return.

From the subsequent discussion by Libby it sounds like SCA’s poor performance relative to the other boats over the past day has been due in part to working out what the most effective “modes” are, in the sense of which sail combinations to use and how far off the wind to sail. The wipeout at the start of the video apparently reflected their having decided to switch to the A3 gennaker, the boat’s largest sail, in a bid for speed.

So they’d been sailing slightly conservatively, sacrificing power in return for control, as they rode the bucking bronco of the Agulhas current.

At the end of the video is some intense footage from Stacey Jackson up the mast, apparently making a repair on one of the mainsail batten cars. I’ve mentioned before what a wild ride it is going aloft in a rough sea. I can definitely tell you that the GoPro footage doesn’t do it justice. The boat’s apparent motion down at deck level is minimized by the wide-angle lens, and there’s no real frame of reference; she’s gripping onto the halyard and shrouds for dear life, and since she’s doing it successfully it all looks quite ho-hum.

It’s not. That mast is whipping back and forth violently. Stacey’s clinging to the end of a 100-foot stick while an angry giant tries to shake her off. You can hear the stress in her voice, along with the nausea.

Later, in today’s “Inside Track” episode, Genny Tulloch interviewed her. Stacey said:

I actually felt really bad. I cut Corinna off just after I got down. I was about to have a moment, and I didn’t really need it recorded. It wasn’t an enjoyable trip yesterday, it was quite bumpy, but it was the last chance to do it before it got worse.

It’s hard to describe it to compare it to something on shore. It’d be a little bit like a roller coaster ride where you just hang on with your hands rather than sitting in a seat. You sort of pirouette around the mast at times. There’s nothing to hold you to the mast. I used some short straps on my own harness, but otherwise you adopt the koala bear technique quite a bit when you need to work with your hands. So you wrap your legs around the mast where you can.

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Tags: vor, volvo ocean race, weareteamsca, stacey jackson.

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