Tuesday, 6 December 2011

It's a shore thing

Piggyback: Puma rides to Cape Town on the carrier Bremen

Photo - Amory Ross / Volvo Ocean Race
For all the shore team managers, the fact that only 50 per cent  of the fleet made the finish line on leg one will be preying on their minds. 

If you were in the unlucky half to have had an issue, it’s about finding out what caused the problem and somehow making sure it doesn’t happen again.

In a strange way these teams have an easier job as they’ve already found their Achilles heel and are rejoining the race with even more passion - and a point to prove.

Eternal question
But the teams that got to Cape Town in one piece face the eternal question: what to check over? The answer has to be, everything. Every rig terminal, every fitting, every square inch of carbon will have been pushed, pulled, tapped and tested before the re-start next weekend. 

Out of the three boats that retired from leg one, two dropped their rigs. So, the reason for mounting the satellite communication gear at the back of the boat is clear: masts fall down and when they fall they normally fall sideways or over the bow. 

And when they do fall, what’s the first thing a team needs to do after they have checked all the crew are safe? Commence safety operations. 

Robust systems
It’s at that point they thank Inmarsat for the robust systems. A FleetBroadband FB500 andFB 250 are there, standing by for essential communications with the outside world, not only for safety, but for logistics, crew comms and even media usage too. 

For more than three weeks now, Puma Ocean Racing have been battling to get back to Cape Town after dropping their rig. They’ve been travelling piggyback on the 350-foot multi-purpose carrier ship that came to their rescue. They are still transmitting from the boat’s comms. 

As I sign off this blog the Puma MCM, Amory Ross, has sent out his blog for the day. He is still working hard, as his media duties don’t finish until he steps ashore in Cape Town.  

You can feel his pain, of the never-ending leg and how much they want to get back into this race.

Mark Covell

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