The boat and crew

Ann, and I usually sail by ourselves. For the Biscay crossing, we decided we needed 2 crew on each watch, so we asked family and friends if they wanted to join us. We proved lucky with family.

The crew, then, comprised: Ann, a yachmaster with 30 years' experience; our son Mark, a professional boatman who had previously brought a 25 ft classic yacht from Majorca to England through the canal du Midi, and also been a delivery crew down to Gibraltar; Luke, Mark's 13 year-old son, willing, but with no experience; and me, who'd shared Ann's 30 years boating.

Our boat, Razzmatazz, is a Dazcat 9.2 catamaran built in 1997. She was effectively the prototype for the Dazcat 10 metres described in Yachting Monthly, June 2003. She's very light - around 2 tons - and can be very quick, though we tend to reef early and choose comfort over extreme speed. The interior is spacious, but a bit Spartan - no teak trim or curtains, for instance.

She carries a large, fully battened main and a 110 per cent jib on a steeply raked mast. She has 2 asymmetric spinnakers, the smaller with a magnificent Scottish lion, and the larger carrying a St Andrews cross and the legend "Specially selected Scotch beef", reflecting the source of the previous owner's sponsorship for racing. The spins are known to us as "Mr Lion" and "Mr Andrews".

She is powered by a 9.9 HP Mariner 4-stroke, which gives 5 to 6 knots as well as pushing around 4 amps into the battery.