Here is some food for thought in this Wired article.

Looking at the picture, I see:

1) A fabric dodger, which blocks the way forward. Jessica & Abby had hard protection.
2) A wheel. J&A used a tiller, which lets you sit on the side of the boat with an unobstructed view forward. I'm guessing, but I think it's a lot harder to break a tiller.
3) The canvas cockpit cover. Laura looks set for a cruise in the tropics, which is the plan. Still, a knockdown...

There is a chunky wooden object behind her - tiller? self-steering?
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Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII