Backstage with Rán
After a highly successful inshore regatta at Key West, winning eight straight races, Niklas Zennström's JV 72, Rán has arrived in Antigua. A delivery crew of seven sailed the Mini-Maxi from Florida. The powerful racer made the 1450-mile ocean passage to Antigua under sail in just six days.
On arrival, the shore crew set up preparing for the big race. Delivery skipper and shore team manager, Brendan Darrer, also races on board Rán and besides working in the pit, Brendan does most of the cooking on board during offshore races.
"I don't generally suffer from sea sickness and with 21 crew there are a lot of mouths to feed, we will be taking over 60 meals, which would add up to a mountain of food and weight but all of Rán's meals are freeze dried. An onboard desalination unit provides water and the galley has been specially designed to make feeding time as efficient and easy as possible. The galley consists of two kettles and a purpose built serving pan - in goes the freeze-dried followed by the hot water and meal for 21 is ready to go. We have a water tank, which is always kept fully topped up, as each crew will need between 3 to 4 litres of water a day.
We back that up with some snacks and power gels, the bow crew and the grinders will need a lot of calories during this race. Sail changes take a lot of effort and Rán has no electric winches on board, all of the hydraulic power is generated by manpower at the pedestals, the only reason we run our engines is to charge the batteries. Some people may perceive the RORC Caribbean 600 as being an easier race than say the Rolex Fastnet. Sure, offshore in the Caribbean is a heavenly experience but the heat can have a big effect on the crew's performance, we are expecting a tough race."
Troy Kennedy is the man in charge of the Rán workshop, Rán travels with two 40' containers and one is fully fitted out as a workshop, complete with lathes and an Aladdin's cave of power tools and spares.
'We like to be as self-sufficient as possible, so the workshop is perfect for boat building jobs and doubles as an office and store for spares," commented Troy. "Before every race or regatta, we service every winch and every jammer. Everything gets thoroughly checked but we are also continually making small modifications, we have all sorts of boat building materials in the workshop and within reason, we can carry out just about any job. The race crew will be out practising for the race over the next few days and for the shore crew the important role is to back them up and help determine any issues and sort them out before they become trouble. But we have had very minimal problems with the boat since built."
With just a few days to go until the start of the 4th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, Falmouth Harbour is busier than it has ever been. Rán is virtually hidden amongst the glamorous superyachts and elegant Spirit of Tradition entries. Preparing a yacht like Rán for a 600-mile race is a big task, requiring a highly skilled and dedicated team. Scrupulous boat preparation is a key factor in the success of any campaign; it can literally be a race-winning manoeuvre.