“After half a dozen downwind slides for the larger boats over recent years, 2021 also saw 95 percent upwind sailing for the maxis and over 2 1/2 days on the water, which is the longest race in a while and what the race is typically famous for”, Sam commented. “For some years I’ve been sailing aboard the famous ‘Wild Oats XI’ maxi however this year, due the owner’s decision not to compete, I was asked to join the new team aboard ‘Black Jack’, another leading maxi, originally launched as ‘Alfa Romeo’ and managed to race alongside a very talented group of sailors.”
Sam’s role on the boat was to trim the huge 360m2 mainsail and keep the mast pointing to the sky. “These larger boats have very complicated mast setups with triple running backstay deflectors and multiple forestay points which can be used in many different combinations. The art is to balance all the loads correctly to work within the design limits of the boat and the mast to give the other trimmers onboard the optimal stay loads and mast bend to make the boat go as fast as possible, while also staying safe”, he explained.