Happy but exhausted back from the training session: Offshore Team Germany successfully completed the first preparation for The Ocean Race Europe from Les Sables d’Olonne. The focus for skipper Robert Stanjek’s newly formed team was on manoeuvre work and a first test of the watch system in an overnight session.
Due to Corona, it has been over one and a half years since the OTG-Imoca “Einstein” had to prove herself in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Now the yacht has been tackled again after being transferred from England to France. Robert Stanjek, Phillip Kasüske, Annie Lush and the new navigator Benjamin Dutreux tested the yacht for a week on the Atlantic Ocean off Les Sables d’Olonne. For several days, the initial task was to coordinate the various manoeuvres with the small four-man crew on offshore waters.
“It quickly became clear that on the complex Imoca with four people, it is very difficult to meet the Olympic standard in the manoeuvres,” reports Robert Stanjek. “The timing for manoeuvres on these yachts is already very long. It is just a boat that is designed for long-distance sailing.” Even though not everything has gone perfectly yet, Robert Stanjek was satisfied: “We haven’t worked through everything yet, but we’ve already got a good basic layout in and made very good progress after this long break from sailing.”
In the overnight session, the crew tested a 90-minute model. While navigator Benjamin Dutreux worked in free time, Stanjek, Kasüske and Lush took turns in one-and-a-half-hour cycles. They were each on deck for two sessions and below deck for one. “A 90-minute break with food and drink leaves a maximum of 60 to 70 minutes for sleep. And for the manoeuvres, all four crew members have to be on deck.”
So the training challenged the crew in an intense way. It was good that the crew could rely on the yacht. “A big compliment to our Shore team around Joff Brown and Ian Smyth, who did a great job with the yacht. We were able to work great,” said Stanjek. The conditions off Les Sables were moderate with diagonal offshore winds and thus ideal for the start.