By Chris Museler
Rob Windsor was my skipper in the Class 40 Dragon on the 800-mile non-stop delivery from Mystic, Ct., to Charleston, S.C., that I described in the first and second installments. He has a punch list of doublehanded basics:
1. Know how to fix or replace stuff.
2. Be efficient when going off watch. Exchange relevant info, eat, get your gear off, and go to sleep. You’re the only backup and need to harbor energy.
3. Trust the Pilot (autopilot). Think of it as a good steerer. Trim the sails to the Pilot. Think like the Pilot. If you know how fast the Pilot responds, you’ll know when adjustments are needed or when the Pilot needs to be turned off.
4. Pick suitable performance ranges for the polars (the predicted speeds for a given wind speed and point of sail) and use them as goals. Anticipate 90-100% efficiency in moderate conditions and 70-90% in less stable times.
5. Advise family and friends on shore not to share stressful news with you. “Bad news can only distract you from the job at hand since you can’t do anything about it,” Rob explains, “My mind needs to be focused on getting the boat and my partner to shore safely. Any thoughts outside of that make for an unsafe situation.”