Bruno Dubois Team Manager for Groupama Team France, former manager of North Sails Europe and more recently Team Manager for Dongfeng Team in the Volvo Ocean Race, in a comment to a Mark Turner Facebook post, explain the roles of the Emirates Team New Zealand AC50 crew members, cyclists included.
So…. to explain you the way it works : the guy in the front is still the bowman, he trims the jib and tack it. The #2 activate the daggerboards with kant and rake. The #3 does the same but he is the one jumping on the other side of the boat for the tacks and jibes. #4 call the tactics.
The #5 is the wing trimmer. he has enough on his plate to do that only and communicate about speed with the helmsman. #6 steer the boat and also play with the elevators on the rudders. All this need to be well coordinate to make it smooth through the race course.
Those crew are the best you can find in the sailing world. They are fit with no fat at all and a huge cardio. They are great match racers and not afraid about speed. You know how much my heart is on offshore sailing… therefore my comments are now polluted by the cup.
The 4 guys in the front on top of doing all the jobs mentionned above do grind for sure. But it is on top of their normal sailing job.
In 2007 on the V5 cup boats we had 8 big fat grinders pumping all day long. They had no agility , just fat and muscles. It was not a problem since the boats were sailing at 11knts….. now we are toping the 45knts easy !!