Saturday, 27 June 2009

VOR: PUMA - 'An Outrageous Year'

by Rick Deppe

We've been doing this now for 450,000 miles and if all goes to plan we'll be finished in around 50 miles. By the time I'm done I'll have served around 4170 meals (who's counting), will have emptied out countless (easily hundreds) buckets of water from inside the boat. All this before I've even started my doing my real job.

Whilst doing my job I've been pushed, punched and told daily to get out of the way because not only am I useless at my job but also that my job is completely and utterly pointless anyway!

Hard to believe but in Singapore, tiring of inter crew struggles and feeling sick since India, I was very close to throwing the towel in. It was definite a low point in the race for me. I'm glad I didn't, because the second half of the trip has been brilliant.

As a team we've had our ups and downs but thankfully in the end, things have come together, and now with only a few days left together as a group, I feel a strong bond with everyone on the team. We just sailed the whole way round the world together - that's massive.

It's been an outrageous year aboard il mostro to say the least and there have been some incredible highs and lows. Its easily the hardest thing I have ever done and along the way I've recorded over a hundred hours of video footage, taken more than 18000 photos. In addition I've written loads of blogs and created fifty podcasts.

To do this work I've spent untold hours scrunched up on a bean bag in my media station trying to keep cameras and computers dry, all the while the boat is crashing and bashing its way around the world.

Along the way I've only lost two cameras and under the circumstances I'm actually quite proud of that. My workspace is underneath the mainsheet winch. It's really noisy when we are reaching along, and the trimmer eases the sheet it feels as though your teeth are going to fall out of their sockets.

Since the beginning I've tried to make the media station my own... its held together with duct-tape and bits of bungee cord. It drives Ken (Ken read) crazy with all my "junk", but there's just no place to put it. Hopefully in the next evolution of the race the media station will be designed into the boat from the outset rather than going in at the end.

This evolution of the race has been notable for the transition to High Definition TV, and the amount of amazing media coming from all boats in the fleet has been staggering. The communications technology and hardware on the boat, whilst daunting at first, has worked brilliantly. My hats off to the guys at Inmarsat for making it all possible and being supportive along the way. A huge thank you has to go out to the travelling Livewire team who kept everything working perfectly.

One of the great things about the race now and always is the friendships that are forged and sealed. I look around the other boats and see friends I've sailed with in past races. It's great to meet all the new guys coming up and I think the race will be in great hands moving forward.

I've enjoyed getting to know all of the Volvo Ocean Race crew and it's been great working with everyone on the travelling media team.

I can't finish this without thanking my family, initially for letting me take off for a year to do this crazy adventure and then bravely making the decision to come along for the ride themselves, albeit by plane. They've been with me the whole way and the trip would have been much much tougher without their love and support.
Thanks Guys.

Volvo Ocean Race

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