The powerful MOD 70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail put on an astonishing display of flat out sailing speed during the Round Britain and Ireland race this week. Benefiting from the remnants of Hurricane Bertha, she rode blustery conditions all the way ’round and maintained 30 knots of boat speed more often than not. Three Omani and three European sailors made up the crew and two of the Omani crew were rank beginners. No longer.
MOD 70’s were looking a little less than robust after two high profile capsizes last year. No longer.
The boat leapt off the line at 40+ knots. Her floats and beams vibrated wickedly as she stampeded across the big seas. She stayed upright and together while skipper Sidney Gavignet risked it all, put the hammer down and kept it down. The toughness it takes to drive a big, powerful boat that hard, for that long, in those conditions is beyond incredible. It is superhuman.
Imagine…..Clouds, rain, wind, big 10 -15 foot grey-beard white capped seas surround us. We are in the cockpit aboard Oman, winches grinding. Damian is on the helm far out on the windward float, ducks behind the spray shield. The noise is furious, deafening, thunderous. The rigging screams and howls – thrumming like a guitar string. The boat staggers, lurches, slides down a wave, lights up and launches! We hang on helpless while she rockets and caroms across the waves. Damian guides her to hold the apparent, keeps her speed up….holds her so…..heats her up a touch…..eases…..sails the big powerful trimaran like a dinghy. An explosive gout of spray fountains from the lee float and beams and drenches the cockpit. The water atomizes and drifts in slow white smoke to leeward. The boat slows and turns down, Damian heats her up, builds the apparent again and rolls her back – dancing her down the halls of a hurricane whipped wilderness.
And when the sun goes down…..there be dragons.
Limits are being tested by these giant trimarans. Limits of construction, materials, rigging, engineering, weather routing, electronics….and crew.
It is a great game this.