Helicopter Rescue training for the Global Ocean Race competitors

20 09 2011

Campbell Field’s latest blog on the final week in the run up to the start of the Global Ocean Race

I spent a few days in England last week and arrived back down in Palma late on Friday evening to have a catch up with Ross on the boat to see where we’re at. Both Ross’ wife Jan and my wife Tracy and my son Fraser flew down and arrived on Sunday, so we’ve got the whole family here.

Campbell and his son, Fraser. Photo Credit: Max Ranchi

Yesterday the Global Ocean Race competitors had a briefing from the Spanish equivalent of the coast guard in Search and Rescue followed by a briefing from a helicopter pilot who is involved in rescues around the area.  This actually included a live demonstration of a helicopter lifting two people off the back of one of the boats! We’ve all seen it on video, but being 100m from a helicopter which is hovering at mast height is a different story altogether. We’re all in pretty good shape, we had our afternoon of scrutineering yesterday and ticked most of the boxes, I need to go and buy a fishing line of all things just in case we get very hungry or sick of freeze dried food, and decide we have to catch a fish- it’s definitely one of those odd safety requirements. Today was a relatively straight forward day, we had a tidy up on the boat and we’re going to reconvene tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock, to go out for a very quick sail just to check a couple of re-cuts on the sails and check all the batten tensions to make sure we’re ready for the start on Sunday.

So in anticipation for the start of the race, we find ourselves in job creation, it’s really difficult to just walk away from the boat and come back in four days for the start, so yes we are very much looking forward to getting underway and racing- we want to go sail boat racing not hang around in a dock and do jobs! Everybody is at a different stage of the game fiddling around with different things at different times, nobody seems to be under any major stress, the two new boats are occasionally bolting some new items on, and the others are all reviewing everything. Towards the end of last week there was a frenzy on sails, getting all the race sails checked out and packed up properly.  We’ve endlessly checked we’ve got everything, stores, safety equipment and a couple of last minute purchases from the local shop. I saw someone walking down the dock with a nice big Spanish salami the other day, so that sort of thing! We’re getting to know our competitors, probably due to the couple of beers had at the end of each evening, providing us time to swap stories and compare notes. I’m not sure how much misinformation has been traded backwards and forwards but there’s a good atmosphere down there.

Both Ross and I are taking it very easy these last few days and trying to spend as much time with our respective families as we can, but unfortunately this is boats, so we’re always a little bit tied up with fiddling around and with briefings and documents so we are itching to get going. I’m not wishing the time away though, seven weeks away is a long time especially when you have a one year old son.


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