So here we are, manoeuvres time! We break down each manoeuvre and the boys put me in a position, I do only one action so that I can learn and am free enough to observe what is going on around me.
We start with sailing upwind by tacking: I'm on the winch, Lambert second winch, David is at the helm and Julien is in charge of getting the sails in front. When David says "ready about", if we reply "ready" he changes course by pushing the tiller while Lambert lets go of the Genoa sheet and I pick it up on the other side. Yes, I must admit, it's not easy to understand when I say it like that but that's exactly why we made a video (clever)!
The next thing they explain to me is setting the spinnaker: you have to go downwind and then—here's a little tip for beginners to make life easier—we released the Genoa sheet first and then hoisted the spinnaker. There will always be purists who say "no, you've got to hoist the spinnaker and then lower the Genoa" but our solution has been tried and tested by... me (well me and my anti-tanning team)! But why do it like that? Even though the yacht may lose speed, the manoeuvre is easier to do and the spinnaker inflates immediately. Then they showed me how to attach the spinnaker sheets and the boom with the sole instruction of: "pull as fast as you can on the spinnaker halyard at the mast". OK! Hoisting a spinnaker is quite something: the sail is very impressive, and so beautiful that I could get a crick in my neck from watching it for hours on end!
Then comes the trickier part: gybing. This is like tacking but when you are downwind, so you have to move the spinnaker from one side of the yacht to the other. Basically, it's getting the boom to change sides... personally, it's my favourite manoeuvre, I felt like I had accomplished something extraordinary when I managed it alone! I'll put it on my CV in future: "Skills: successful gybing"... but "on calm water"... and "with a crew that makes my life easier"! But I'm not going to let that technicality steal my thunder, can I or can I not solo gybe when sailing?