DAY 1 : First regatta for Indigo Construction
6 am : After our late arrival on Friday evening and our first night on board, we woke up early at 6am. Breakfast at the Port of Toronto, followed by a theoretical meeting where we defined the teams and positions of each of us.
How does our crew work ?
The boat is divided into 3 sections. Section 1 is more physical and requires more strength and endurance. Team 1 is in charge of lowering and hoisting the sails (up and down) on a 28-metre mast! The challenge of this section is to successfully stow the sail in the hull of the boat to clear the space while bordering the sheet to hoist the new sail at the same time.
The responsibilities of Section 2 is short but very intense: it requires strength and explosive power. Its main role is to change the sheet corresponding to the new sail. To do this, half of the team is responsible for shocking the sheet on one side, tucking it in on the other, and the other half takes care of the coffee grinder, this kind of crank to pull the rope to contribute to the rotation of the sheets.
Finally, Section 3 makes the same efforts as the second section. It takes care of both shocking and bordering the battens to retain the mast, as well as control the mainsail. After everyone has completed their mission, the three teams are abseiling to port or starboard to balance the boat before making the next maneuvers ...
10:00 am : We go back to the boat, here we go, the adventure can begin! However, even before leaving the port, already a first fright... The boat cannot start, something is blocking it in the engine... It is not coming from the inside, someone will have to volunteer to dive under the boat and look at what is stucked. Guillaume proposes himself, unblocks the algae buried in the engine and allows us to solve the problem quickly.
Our first departure (term meaning that the boat leaves the dock) therefore begins. We leave the marina with an exceptional view of Toronto from the water. The weather conditions are ideal for a first day: a rather light wind and mild weather. After 3 hours on the water, each one at his station. The whole team quickly integrates its tasks, and in the most challenging moments, mutual assistance helps to put the boat in order.
1:00 pm: Start of the Royal Racing Team. Indigo gets ready. The course is relatively short but requires good technique. Thanks to our skipper, we are obviously adopting the right technique, and we are positioning ourselves as far south as possible given that the wind direction is south. This allows us to cross the wind from the other competitors, thus slowing them down, and thus catching up. We start in the last ones and finish 2nd! After the race, our skipper gives us a break. We have to reach Kingston before the start of the shift tonight. We leave for the east, continuing to perfect our techniques.
6pm : During the rest hour, our skipper offers the most curious an explanation of how the dashboard works: how to define the boat's route according to the wind direction, and other more technical information from the "sailor's cockpit" (signals emitted when approaching a boat, a coast, a marine current change...). After this great break, Team 1 embarked on the first night shift and watched the sun set behind Toronto. It's a new challenge because each crew of 4 must be able to manage the whole boat while the others rest. The watches are organized by 2 hours of sailing and 4 hours of rest.
During the first 2 quarters, the wind is relatively light. During the 3rd shift, the wind lifted and reached 8 knots. At the same time, the team is getting closer to the American coast and taking the opportunity to contemplate the illuminated city in the distance.... After a fairly calm night and a sublime sunrise, the crew found themselves at 7am for breakfast before attacking on the 2nd day!
DAY 2 : Goal = performance !
7am : After a breakfast in a good mood, marked by a blind test won by our trainees, the training started at 8:15 am with 4 consecutive hours of sailing. This time, everything is getting faster: the wind is stronger than the day before and we are working harder. We practise at speed and change all the sails: jib, genoa, thong, spinnaker. Each manoeuvre is timed, and the objective is to beat the previous time. It becomes very physical, especially for section 1, which must quickly lower and hoist the sails, then store it in the hull of the boat to free up space. Sections two and three must follow a series of gybes and edge changes.
Today, everyone has a much better command of their position, and we can already see a better performance: teamwork is becoming interesting! Our sailing race ends and we return to the Port of Toronto with a breathtaking spectacle of the Air Force over our heads. We enjoy the last moments together and clean the boat before leaving for Montreal. We will all have a great memory of this weekend spent together!
12am: We end this weekend by giving everyone the opportunity to share their feelings and feedback. The whole team had fun and acquired new sailing skills. Guillaume Dubois, founder of Indigo Construction, expressed his pride in the team and was impressed by everyone's desire to learn more.
Next step: reproduce the same manoeuvres in conditions more similar to what will await us: a stormier wind, exhaustion, repetitive vomiting, more intense effort... Anyway, we are ready and more determined than ever to face the race in Antigua!