Every team will consist of 11 people, 9 of them will be onboard racing to win the SSL Gold Cup in 2022. One of the 9 is on the bow, managing the area from the must up, easing the hoisting of the sails, retrieving them when pulled down, giving length to the start line checking the time on distance but also the other competitors. This is the bowman, a very athletic and fit person, agile enough to go up the mast for daily check-ups, and experienced enough to support the afterguard decisions. Then, going backward, you can find a mid-bow or a floater, the first one helps the bowman and is a link between the bow and the pit, the latter is like a jolly and can do different things at different times all around the boat. There’s either one or the other onboard.
In the middle of the boat, you find the pitman managing the difficult ‘pit’ on the bottom of the mast, where all the lines of the boat go through. The pitman blocks or frees them depending on the manoeuvres, which is the contact between the stern with the thinking heads, the grinders who are the muscles of the boat, and the bow.
The grinder works hard turning the handles on the coffee grinder to pull the lines, to either bring the sails up and down or move them from side to side during tacks and jibes. The upwind and downwind trimmers trim the sails to optimize the speed of the boat to make it go faster than the rest of the fleet.
You can never have perfectly trimmed sails at all times, they need constant adjustment, that is what the trimmers do. Another one with eyes fixed on the sails is the mainsail trimmer, the mainsail is the engine of the boat and it must be always performing at its maximum potential. In the rear seats, we have the so-called thinking heads, the helmsman (or helmswoman), and the tactician.
They work strictly together, one is more focused on the big pictures looking at the wind and at the fleet, the other one feeling the boat, hands on the wheel turning a little left and a little right feeling the pressure on the boats both from the wind and the waves.
SSL Team Tahiti Captain Teva Plichart will lead the team tactics while other positions onboard are still to be assigned.