Chris Museler's Race Prep Diary: #1 - Closing in on the Class 40
By Chris Museler
“Ok, so you’re by yourself most of the time, you don’t bathe, you sleep in your wet clothes on the floor, you poop in a bucket and pee outside, and all you eat is candy and Ramen Noodles. For a week. That sounds horrible!” That was what the woman sitting next to me on my flight home said after I told her about sailing the Class 40 Dragon some 800 miles out of sight of land for five days on a non-stop delivery from Mystic, Ct., to Charleston, S.C.
Maybe I’d been avoiding the reality of sailing doublehanded in a small, speedy sailboat in the open ocean. My seatmate’s comments made it clear that this discipline is a lot more challenging than heading out in a big, heavy, fully-crewed boat. Hard times offshore usually are forgotten, leaving only glorious memories that keep us coming back. But now I admit that doing it in a Class 40 can be downright miserable, with occasional crying-for-mommy moments.
Chris Takes A Stroll on Class 40 Dragon
As I prepare for the Newport Bermuda Race aboard Dragon, I’m finding that doublehanded sailing is much more than a simple sailing experience. It’s more like graduate school, getting your master’s in a tough subject. It demands doubling-up on preparations, precision in maintenance, and patience in practice. In a series of columns, I’ll describe the preparations and sailing of a Class 40 and its crew of two. Rob Windsor was my co-skipper for the delivery, and Michael Hennessy is my co-skipper for the Atlantic Cup and the Bermuda Race.
I’ll start with our delivery to Charleston, where the boat will race in the Atlantic Cup before returning north to Newport at the end of May. Whatever your impressions of the freaky community of shorthanded sailors, I hope my experiences will reveal how complete and grounded these sailors are. Dragon sailed more than 10,000 miles last year. Many 40s do a circumnavigation’s worth of miles annually.
Along the way, we’ll learn some mental and technical tips that will help us all better enjoy sailing in the open sea.
First, let’s get Dragon down the East Coast to Charleston. What could possibly go wrong?