Q&A With Chase Boat Skipper for Emirates GBR SailGP Team
As Chase Boat Skipper for the Emirates GBR SailGP Team, what’s your role at a SailGP event?
As the Chase Boat Skipper, I’m responsible for the chase boat and keeping the shore team, the coach, and the rest of the team in touch with the racecourse. This generally involves staying close to the race boat to allow Robbie, the team coach, to get a good view of what the crew are up to. At the same time, we stay close by in case of any breakdowns or other reasons we may need to assist the F50.
What does a typical race day schedule look like?
On race day, the schedule is normally pretty full on. We’ll get down to the F50 early and do our checks. Once that’s done, we’ll check out the chase boat, and I’ll head out as soon as possible to the craning area. I start by dropping the guys onto the F50 as it’s craned in, and then we side tow the yacht and take it over to its holding mooring while the rest of the boats are launched. Once that’s all done, we’re off and out into the race area.
After a day of racing, we will tow the race boat back to its mooring which may involve a long tow at high speed all the way back from the race area. Then we side tow it with the help of another chase boat and stand by until the crane takes the F50 out at the end of the day. Then it’s back to the boatyard to help packup and move everything into the shed. Lastly, we tidy up the chase boat and put everything
You’ve just received delivery of a new Protector Chase 330. What is it like to drive?
The Protector Chase 330 is a great boat to drive. It is a very well-built boat, and at the same time, it’s super powerful, very fast, and very manoeuvrable. It’s just the thing we need to keep up with the F50 catamaran.
It’s got twin Suzuki 320 fives on the back, giving us the ability to be anywhere on the racecourse in a couple of minutes. It also gives us lots of pulling power so we can tow it, right the F50 if it capsizes, and get our job done.
We also run the Protector fully loaded. We have a lot of equipment, spare parts, emergency kit, and all six crew on board, plus support staff, and we still have all the space we need. Plus, it’s able to keep up with the F50 with everything and everyone onboard.
Are there any special technology or electronics on board?
We have large chart plotters onboard which are fully connected to the race management system so we can see all the penalties and all the ongoings-on on the racecourse. This is really helpful to myself and Rob the coach. As well as that, there’s a pretty complex communication system, allowing us to talk not only to the F50, but also race management, event control, and the tech team for technical support.
How do you move your Protector Boats fleet between events? Are they simple to transport?
After the event, the RIBs pack up quickly; in just a couple of hours. They’re put onto cradles, deflated, and the Bimini is taken off. Then they’re put straight into a container. And the great thing is they’re probably the biggest boat you can get into a standard shipping container. Then they’re sent off to the next event, where we unload them quickly and easily.
For more information about the Emirates GBR team follow this link