Ten people are crowded for weeks on end into a 21.5 metre long boat. Without personal possessions. Without privacy. Without anything even approaching comfort.
”It’s not a problem”, says Gurra Krantz, a professional sailor for over thirty years.
”You’re focussed on one thing only – the sailing. Everything else is subordinated to that”.
Gurra Krantz has four circumnavigations behind him, in the Volvo Ocean Race and the Whitbread Round the World Race. He finds life on board simple, compared with life on land.
”I love to compete. The Volvo Ocean Race is a total challenge. It’s long, demanding and multi-facetted. It’s fascinating”.
”The crew are a team, with a single goal. Winning. The only time things get really tough is when they’re not going according to plan”.
Each day on board switches between deck work, being on stand-by and resting. The usual watch length is four hours, but this is at the mercy of circumstances. In easy conditions, the crew might have six hours rest. In hard going, they might get no rest at all.
Those on stand-by are fully-dressed, ready for immediate action, even while they are below decks. Down there, it is cramped, dark and damp. The crew don’t just have to get on well together. They share the same space with sails, navigation and communication equipment, cameras, the water-maker, sewing machine, spare parts, the galley, food, heads and ten bunks.
Despite the number, the berths are not allocated to a single crew-member. Even when they are asleep, they help sail the boat by lying on the windward side to act as ballast. Not even the sleeping bags are personal.
The only place to offer something anything like privacy is the heads. On the VO70 boats, the heads are shut behind bulkheads and doors or curtains. This is an innovation. In the previous races, the heads were completely open.
Washing, if anyone bothers, is done using wet wipes. Personal hygiene takes second place to the only thing that matters in the end, the sailing. But everyone does have their own toothbrush.
”It’s important to have some limited personal hygiene and to keep teeth clean”, says Gurra Krantz.
”This is simply because a tooth infection creates major problems. And that gets in the way of the sailing”.
For more information and pictures – please go to http://www.volvooceanrace.org/multimedia/
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