Certainly we were always on our toes on Elvis but hearing about a capsize is, and always will be a bit of a check-in. It’s a race and you have to find the sweet spot between pushing hard and getting it home. Hate that our skills and experience/seamanship are called into question here. Heaps of offshore multi experience in the race crew and we’ve sailed her transatlantic twice.
To add our setup to the discussion here we have electric winches for the headsails and a 2:1 hydraulic mainsheet. At all times in the race the headsail/spinnaker would be on the sheet with as few wraps as possible (3 or 4). We (forward trimmers) would always know how eased the main was (via a string pod led to the forward cockpit) and how much power we had in our hands. The mainsail has fast, slow and emergency dump functions as well as a manual cutout in the case of power loss. The fast release gets the sail fully eased in about 1.5 secs. Squall reaction was all about getting the sails eased and exercising the “out” (either high or low bow angle.) Since the race was majority power reaching the “out” was always high with a very eased main. The staysail furling line was always loaded and we had to furl it away on several occasions.
Our near capsize several years earlier was with the old rig which had the mainsheet led to winches. It happened PDQ and the mainsheet hand fell to leeward with a lot of wraps on the winch which essientially self cleated. Harder to hold but we’ve always run as few wraps as possible since then so we can get rid of power quickly.
Interesting discussion guys - thanks.