‘A full crew’ is becoming a difficult term to define in the high performance grand prix world. In the Ultim class, (32m racing trimarans), a full crew could be just six, while for an IMOCA60 a full compliment could be four.
Yet, despite the huge physical difference in size between these two classes, the common denominator is that their crews rely heavily on the autopilot to keep the boat under control while still maintaining a blistering pace.
Meanwhile, even though these offshore machines are a world apart from that of the everyday racer, the technology trickledown into mainstream racing has helped fuel the growth in shorthanded sailing and provided amateurs with the tools and confidence to compete at an impressively high level.
So, in this feature we ask some of those who regularly press their foot to the floor while relying on their pilots to explain how they get their systems up to speed.