Miranda Merron on the GOR: Stacking, stacking and more stacking

Miranda Merron on the GOR: Stacking, stacking and more stacking

Tuesday October 4 2011 Author: Miranda Merron Location: none selected

As is the case with most race boats, Class40s are very sensitive to trim, ie the correct distribution of weight in the boat for optimum performance of the hull. For example if the boat has too much weight aft, it drags water, visible with a wave behind the boat, like towing a liquid cannonball. Not good for speed.

The opposite applies especially sailing downwind - if there is too much weight forward, the bow of the boat buries in the waves, and the boat doesn't take off; The same applies to the heel of the boat - weight being used to counteract the heel caused by wind in the sails, or in light winds, helping the boat to heel a little to reduce the wetted surface.

The bottom line is that every change in wind and sea conditions requires a rearrangement of the all the equipment in the boat, of which there is a fair amount for a round the world race!

Fortunately Campagne de France was designed for optimised 'stacking' at the build stage.

As every last item must be moved - sails, food, spares etc, it helps that bags are designed for it - for example the sail bags have lots of handles, the food (mainly freeze-dried) is in tough waterproof Cotten bags which fit perfectly in various places etc.

Stacking is a job best done by two people, so if conditions are right for Nestor the autopilot to steer, we share the chore, and it takes little time. However, when one of us is glued to the helm, the other person gets to do the stacking all by themselves, which is much harder...

One last detail which makes the task all the more arduous - a boat at sea moves the whole time. So not that easy to move large unwieldy things around when you can barely stay upright without holding on.

So now you know what we do at least part of the time. Many more months of stacking ahead. We would like to take the opportunity to give advance warning to fiends and family that we will NOT be available to help anyone move house after the race!!

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