The Drheam Cup yachts screened by controllers before the start of the race in Cherbourg

These are the very last preparations before setting sail. The more than 120 sailboats lined up at the start of the Drheam Cup in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin have already arrived at Port Chantereyne since Tuesday. Before the big departure this Sunday, July 17, they are all subject to equipment control by the French Sailing Federation.

A list of mandatory equipment on board the boat

“A survival blanket? It’s there. Smoke bombs? One there and one there. Impeccable”. On board the Volvo, Tiphaine Riechers makes equipment inventory of the Class 40 sailboat, with the help of the Belgian skipper Jonas Gerckens. She is one of three offshore crew controllers in the Drheam Cup.

Buoys, life jackets, life rafts, lamps… Anything goes. “We check that there is everything indicated on the list. Both basic safety equipment, but also equipment specific to each class of boat”she explains. “I tick as I go”.

The safety of skippers at stake

An essential check for safety of skippers at sea. “Accidents happen very rarely, fortunately, but you never know, and on the high seas, you have to make sure that sailors can survive while waiting for help.” The name and the encoding of the tags are thus noted. “We have a whole database to launch searches if necessary”describes Tiphaine Riechers.

“Even if it’s regular and at each race start, we know it’s for our safety”testifies Jonas Gerckens. “When we have to use this equipment, we will be happy to know by heart where our gear is.” A gauge check anyway required to start the race. And if the criteria are not met, it is impossible to leave. “But there’s never any worries”assures Tiphaine Riechers.

Inspectors spend between half an hour and half a day per boat, depending on the class of sailboat, with Imocas and Ultimes taking the longest to inspect. “In three days, we have no time to waste”, she smiles. The 123 sailboats currently lined up will be ready for Sunday.

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