With four days to go until the Pendennis Cup, YW meets superyacht Adela's Bosun
“Adela has 37 winches,” the Bosun, Ollie, explains as he seats himself in front of one, “17 of which are hydraulic. Each one needs to be taken apart, greased, serviced, reassembled and prepared for the huge stresses the racing will put them under.”
This morning he unpacks his toolkit and scatters the area with screwdrivers, oil, grease pots, his penknife, allen-keys and miniature paintbrushes. I almost hold my breath as he takes apart a winch as delicately as if it were an explosive. Like a surgeon he knows each part intricately and takes his time working carefully to service every bit before putting them through a series of tests. It’s a time-consuming job, but then again, with the two semi-custom primary winches costing over £40,000 apiece, it’s no wonder he’s taking his time.
As I talk to Ollie, he is pre-occupied with the ten tasks at hand and I find myself trailing behind as he explains exactly what he is doing: “Adela has modern rigging but we carry traditional techniques of sailing as well. Our sails don’t furl away; they’re all handled manually. It’s a labour intensive job to race her, every manoeuvre is physically demanding; fore-mast running backstays alone you need six to eight crew.”
“Multiple things have to be taken into consideration when racing, most importantly safety. If a sheet were to snap it would cause significant injuries. We have over 40 sheets onboard, from 18mm-26mm diameter, and a range of breaking loads, from 15 to 30 tonnes, each requiring maintenance checks. It is important to investigate their condition prior to racing to ensure they are safe. At up to £3000 for a halyard, it can get expensive if they are not run properly.”
Falmouth-born Ollie has recently rejoined Adela having previously worked on her 5 years ago. For the past few years he has had a busy cruising and race programme on a Swan 82″ but he tells me he is delighted to return to Adela: “It’s a job I love and to be racing at home in Falmouth is such a bonus. So often as crew you only return home a few weeks of the year for standard holidays, so to be home for the Pendennis Cup and be having our refit here in Pendennis is such perk.”
I catch him glancing at his watch as we edge closer to 5pm and suggest if his and the crew’s buoyant mood might have anything to do with Cornish Rattler cider, or perhaps, the marina’s proximity to all his local pubs; “Of course, of course,” he laughs, “in fact, we’re heading to the Chainlocker now if you want to join us?”
CLICK HERE to see our interview with Adela’s Deckhand.