Transatlantic Challenge, what’s on board?
I wish I knew. ReggataNews.com has been posting some great photos of the yachts, but they almost never show electronics (generally the case for megayachts, unfortunately, as owners and charterers don’t often drive them). Above is a tight crop from a hi res image (more here, credit: Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex) of the 174’ (53m) Drumbeat. You can make out massively complex helm stations port and starboard (there’s redundancy!) and at least one large hooded ECDIS or radar unit. The guy in the middle may be “handling” 26,000 sq. ft. of sail with a little forest of joysticks. I must say that wearing PFD’s on this flying bridge seems a bit over the top. On the other hand, some of the boats that went too far north have been getting pounded. The skipper of Sojana reported dryly, “We’re hammering along at 12 knots right on course, right down the great circle at 075 degrees true. Some of the electronics aren’t working as well as they used to, but we are reasonably happy.”
The white cover on the port station looks like the cover on a Furno radar display.
The comment “electronics aren’t working..” is pretty common. It is a challenge to keep electronics working on a rough passage, particularly on a wet sailing yacht. I remember a comment made by a crew member as I sat below at the nav station on Bumblebee with their navigator helping him work on their systems the night before one Sydney Hobart Race. Myself and all the navigators on the dock had been working on the systems of all the big race boats for several days and it was now getting down to the wire. The comment by the observing crew member:
“It doesn’t matter if you fix it or not, by tomorrow night it will all be down again anyhow.”
Well, I don’t know how the electronics faired, but Bumblebee won the race. I was sailing on Icon and I kept our system up, but it was a full time job.
On my own boat, WINGS, I like my complex toys, but I keep the important stuff simple.