Surfing at 30kts with a 40 tons racing boat: what could go wrong? – Ep97 – The Sailing Frenchman

Surfing at 30kts with a 40 tons racing boat: what could go wrong? – Ep97 – The Sailing Frenchman

Last episode I was taking the start of the Clipper Round the World Race from London to Portugal The first few days were not fun trying to exit the English Channel upwind But finally the wind backed as we entered the Atlantic and we were able to bear away The rest of the passage was looking much more fun And the day was quite eventful But much nicer than the past few days Today no yesterday during the night we passed the windward mark, and we’ve been able to bear away hoist spinnakers and finally go downwind, sunny, the boat is dry Now we’re not walking on the walls anymore. So it’s pretty nice. And yeah, we’ve been gaining a few spots. We’re in seventh position, which isn’t too bad,
the real front of the fleet are pretty far But we might be able to gain one spot more The race is not over, we’re half way So yeah, we have 620 miles 660 miles from arrival It’s about three days more racing. And that’s plenty of time for other boats to have shit happening. How is it going here, how is today compared to yesterday and the day before and the day before ? Oh today’s brilliant, look everyone’s happy, they’re back to their old sounds, I didn’t do anything really disastrous Yet, but there is still time, 10 minutes before I go to bed. So something really bad could happen But look, you cut your fingers How was your day ? turn it around, Great Are you tired ?
No You think it went well today? We’re seventh, yeah, that’s good. Keep pushing. Hey Wangy, can I hand you another bucket please? What’s your job Manuel today ? Engineer today…
Is it fun ? Yes, it’s better than the last few days How many buckets we removed yesterday per watch ? I don’t know, I think it was like five yeah twelve after a few watches, but yeah four or five per watch Good day good pick, but you haven’t picked it.
It’s the Wheel of Life who decides There is many different ways to run a boat
with a large crew Here is the one that Josh came up with
and that we are trying to refine There is a certain amount of tasks to be completed on board every day or even several times a day. On our boat everyone changes job role every day. So all the crew gets to know the different areas of the boat skills, and it also avoids routine So one day one can be engineer, another housekeeper, watch leader, navigator, decky, etc But I’ll come back to this How are you feelings JB ? Good thank you. Hugo,
yes Can you tell ? Josh, because I know he worries about these things,
But we are delighted if you guys are helming Yeah with you guys helming getting us in front of the pack Because it’s not a learning day How are you doing ? I’m loving it All right, pretty nice day today 25 to 30 knots we have the code 3 up It’s rather interesting to steer in these conditions it’s just the first race of this circumnavigation. So the crew, some of the crew are not quite ready to steer in these conditions, it’s a bit of a steep learning curve. So Josh and I are steering quite a bit And it’s quite fun ๐Ÿ™‚ What’s the record?
About 19kts… woooo, boom is touching the water So yeah, I think if we stay like this, as deep as we can, we are actually quite well placed Pretty sure most of the boats will have to jibe So that’s not bad It’s Friday the 6th of September We are near Finisterre and it’s blowing 27/28 ture wind speed
So far our top speed 22kts Let’s be honest I never really helmed such a big boat under spinnaker in 30 knots of wind and 2 meter waves Just because there isn’t really any training for this kind of stuff There’s only so many big offshore racing boats around and it’s not that easy to get onto one but as Josh says this boat is just a dinghy with a kettle but wait, I never sailed dinghies So here I was about to surf down the waves with my amazing but complete amateur crew which some of them had never seen proper swell of flew a spinnaker in more than 10 knots of wind before that day Josh and I were alternating at the helm
doing two hours session s, so the other one could rest when one was helming As the day went the wind and swell went increasing slowly and I had one of the best helming session I have had sailing so far The boat is surprisingly stable and sane at high speeds. Even if she requires a lot of power and concentration at the helm A bit before sunset, we retrieved the kite and kept going under white sails, but not before I stole the speed record from Josh with 29.7knots which we would also learn later that it would be the fastest speed across the fleet for that race Just another day at the office I’m with Mark doing some fixing It’s 7:00 a.m The boat goes at 13 knots, the person on the helm had never sailed a month ago, it’s perfect We’re doing chafe protection … to hoist the spinnaker. Alright I gonna send you more people to pack the yankee after so sweaters, you’ll check the … halyard mate as well Alright so Spinnaker, active sheet you’ll be on it ? cool. Because we need now someone to sweat to tail the, to sweat the spinnaker and we need someone then on the yankee halyard because we need to drop the yankee at the same time, right? so fore deck sweat sweat sweat halyard mate, talk to Ivan, Ivan when halyard is made 2 safety turns Done. Ok ? Ivan I need you to take a few sail ties with you Once you are done with the spinnaker you walk with the guys at the front and we need to drop the yankee So Phil, once the halyard’s made make sure your clutch is open before we start all this jazz, and then just work with Mark or whoever is at the front to drop this in the controlled manner All right, ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to need your hands on the One on the coffee grinder for the spinnaker the other one on the foredeck to drop the yankee We’re already doing 10 knots, 11 knots, 12 knots, good And we’re gonna put the code 3, yeah, and see how wrong can this go I’m gonna take over. Yes. Thank you so much Got it, thanks All right fore deck, ready? Cockpit ready? Go All right Ivan, grind. Guys, yankee Grind grind grind Ivan. All right, Tim, my voice Tim grind, pull the slack pull the slack who’s on the yankee halyard ? Ok Phil All right, Harpo, 2 safety turns on that winch Good and go on the fore deck now to drop the yankee Now turn off stupid drone On my bunk here in the boat, it’s really hard to fit in, it’s so tiny Basically I have my lee cloth A view on the rest of the boat Have my little fan, here And I’m off watch We’ve been doing pretty well this last few hours We’re picking up on Dare to Lead, who are 4th, creeping up on them. We still have 200 200 miles to the finish We need to keep the boat going fast Yeah normally tomorrow night we’re drinking beers in Portimao, Portugal We are forty mile from arriving and there’s no more wind. We had to turn around to have apparent wind, so now w’re going in the wrong direction. I hate sailing No, no, we added north in our course, it’s all good Let’s do something, great that there’s Josh who keeps moving the boat when there is no wind,
otherwise would be just crying in the lazarette All right. Let’s go ! Code 1?! There is that saying that sounds something like
“any fool can race in strong breeze but it takes a great sailor to race in light wind” And that’s why I’m not a great sailor The last 40 miles of the race have been really hard. On top of some wrong tactical decisions from Josh and I, we got some really variable winds as we got closer to shore and from the top half of the fleet we ended up passing the finish line in eighth position Bloody frustrating it is, but some of the leaders from that race got the same fate and went from first to ninth or tenth So lessons are learned, now let’s keep moving What day is today? It is Monday morning that’s one week that’s one week we’re racing and we finished this morning over there at five, four something We’re in 8th position, the last 12 hours have been a pain It’s been low wind, changing wind, Boats getting stuck and others passing and at some points we were the boat doing good, and other moments not doing so good And Yeah, but anyway we learned a lot, I think This was just race 1 of this Clippper Round the World One race out of 15. So stay posted for more offshore racing, big waves and a little bit of random sailing life sometimes

Antonio Breitenberg

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31 thoughts on “Surfing at 30kts with a 40 tons racing boat: what could go wrong? – Ep97 – The Sailing Frenchman

  1. Yvonne Rediger says:

    Great footage ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

  2. Thomas says:

    Have missed your videos alot !! Somehow have not seen any lately. Wish you the best on your adventures.

  3. Sir Prancelot says:

    30 mph. Incredible. Congratulations on your third place in Rio. Hope you are enjoying it there. Correction: Punta del Este!

  4. Milko Berben says:

    Surfing down the waves always good

  5. Bruce Kratky says:

    WOW! That is some serious sailing and a serious boat. Beautiful video. I am so envious.

  6. Malama Robinson says:

    Funtastic…. then f#ร—kn wind dies!!! I hate sailing too.

  7. Philipp Hoffmann says:

    Epic how you command the crew during sail changes. A really great and unique point of view between all these sailing channels. Love this series.

  8. Glenn Melinda says:

    GG Hugo les frisson grave bon vents et belle course ! bis merci <3

  9. James Newberry says:


  10. Vladimir Vlad says:


  11. Walther Budman says:

    great work! i get a little scared when the boom touches water????!!!! beautiful ending!!! 15:30 was great beauty! thak you very much!

  12. TheRst2001 says:

    You looked like u were genuinely going fast ! Some great footage especially the smartphone ๐Ÿคฃ good vid enjoyed it ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Judebug says:

    This must be one of the best sailing videos out there. For the first time, I feel like Iโ€™ve seen what real sailing is. I know the racing aspect is very different from cruising. But to experience that boat shooting over the waves, your joy at grabbing the wind and using it to fly across the water, the crew learning โ€œon the jobโ€ as their every move will make a difference in the boatโ€™s performance… Iโ€™ll be watching this one again. And probably again after that.

  14. Llanovanya85 says:

    Fantastic Video! Thanks!

  15. Dawn Hornsby says:

    Hello from Hamilton, Alabama ๐Ÿ˜† luv ya Hugoโค

  16. Mark Tragear says:


  17. R. E. Hill says:

    Wow.. That's fast.. lots of adrenaline… ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. circum navigation says:

    Love the vids. And love your style

  19. groovydoo says:

    That was so great; it makes me want to sign up for one.

  20. Dany Torchy says:

    Superbe…j'adore suivre tes aventures!!

  21. Em says:

    Im jealous!๐ŸŒžit was worth the first crappy days to sail that boat that fast! The shots were so cool you could see the speed! YOU LOVE SAILING what great experience-

  22. Michael Curran says:

    I saw a man in command sailing a 12 meter boat @ 30 Knots and then the doldrums. Sir Francis Chichester once said "Any one can sail around the world sober. It takes a true sailor to sail around the world drunk." Its not alcohol that bring ya courage it's your heart, mind, and soul. Wind to your back, SAILOR!

  23. Danibolical 1 says:

    Great vid! Love the drone shots.

  24. Mary Gray says:

    Love this series๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

  25. Owen Potter says:

    Is that Porto Mao? Looks so familiar after watching "Adventures of an Old Seadog" several times! Halong Bay is looking magnificent under way. Awesome drone shots.

  26. Brian Boys says:

    F A B. Thunderbirds are go.

  27. Kelly Stevenson says:


  28. Imagezone61 says:

    Great job surfing those waves, you were really moving! Keep the great adventure videos coming. We all want your team to win!

  29. Arthur de Vaumas says:

    Super รฉpisode ! Bon courage pour le reste de la course ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Alvacir Ferreira says:

    That emotions. Congratulations !!!

  31. Michael Domanski says:

    great work on this video, I learn so much from you all! hello from Clearwater Florida, USA. Sailing a tiny Com-Pac 16 in the gulf of Mexico.

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