There’s nothing like a good long voyage to sort out a boat, for better or for worse. That much I learned running a working charter boat for so many years. Every season we’d cover around 8000 hard miles between the English Channel and the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. On our return to Falmouth at the end of the season we’d present the list of destruction to our long-suffering support crew, only to watch them scratch their heads and ask, “How on earth did you break that?”
Just use, hard use, and this on a boat on which everything was beefed up, and at least one or two sizes bigger and stronger than standard. All of which learning was put into the building of Pèlerin in 2007. Since when we’ve had ample time to find any weak spots in her armour, and make good any deficiencies.
During last year’s enforced lay-off in the Canary Islands, one way we kept morale up was to go through everything so that we’d be 100% ready to take off in the autumn—it kept the dream alive, if you like.
Rig, hardware, mechanical systems, we went through it all with a fine tooth-comb whilst we were in a place where the skills and materials existed to put things right if necessary. And now, after 3700 ocean miles between the Canaries, Senegal, Cape Verde and Brazil, we feel we can fairly and objectively comment on what has worked and what hasn’t.