Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Time to pack – but leave those Hawaiian shirts behind

Ian Walker, skipper of Abu Dhabi, checking the larder for leg one
Photo: Ian Roman / Volvo Ocean Race
With only a few days to go until the start it’s time to pack the boats ready for Leg one.

The teams have had some downtime since the in-port racing at the weekend, but now it’s time to regain focus. All the training and major preparation is over - it’s all about ocean racing now.

Teams ideally want their boats packed and loaded 24 hours before the start day. Some skippers even put the boats on lockdown, saying if it’s not on before then it’s not coming.

Team base
An area is laid out in the team’s base. They then pile up everything going on the boat, as if packing for a summer holiday.

But for these holiday makers there’ll be no Hawaiian shirts and glossy magazines to read by the pool, just three sets of underwear, a base layer and a fleece or two.

Weight is the major concern. The lighter a team can pack, the faster the boat will sail.

Stacked and racked
There is a sail limitation too, so the navigators are busily looking at the wind predictions for the leg. A quiver of sails will then be carefully packed, stacked and racked ready to set in a second.

The teams set sail on 5 November and are expected to arrive in Cape Town on 25 November. So 20 bags of dehydrated food have been prepared and sealed ready for loading.

An advanced first aid kit has been expertly packed by the medics into a large yellow Peli case, ready for the unexpected.

Sewing machine
And a robust sewing machine that will bolt on the top of the engine cover has to be boxed and stored together with all the spares that hopefully won’t be needed.

Like a game of Tetras plaid by a team of worker ants, the crews carry all these things down to the boats, knowing the next time they grab a bag or box of spares they will be at sea racing to Cape Town.

Read more from Team Telefonica’s media crew member, Diego Fructuoso, on his pre-start packing regime at

Mark Covell

1 comment:

  1. What brand and model sewing machines do VOR boats carry on board?