Friday, September 26, 2008

Heart and Soul of Sailing: Meet the Boys of VOR!

Today's ventures afforded time with Jerry Kirby...again (he's my saving grace to breaking the ice with the boys.) He in turned brought in the boys of Chessie Racing who can't get enough of this race, while they were all on break from Medical Training, which was conveniently taking place next door to the media center.

These guys had me on the floor, their stories from racing together ten years ago were told as though it were yesterday. Where was I ten years ago?!?

Tom Braidwood to left is really talented man having played in everything from AC, past Volvos, Grand Prix, Maxi and the Mini Transat last year! The man to his right, Mike Joubert, the man who vowed never to do this race again is dashing and cool, giving no hint to not wanting to be here.

Jerry Kirby helped break the ice with talking to the boys, but Jonathan McKee just seemed to sense I had questions about what was going on and came over and said, "Hi"...actually it was the American accent! Americans find each other in foreign countries! We had a nice talk about sailing in the US but re-grouped to what their lessons of the day entailed. This lead to meeting Dr. Tommo, teacher and designer of the Team's medical kits.

As I was leaving to go grab an el cafe con leche (white coffee in Spanish) bumped into two members of the Russian team: Skipper Andreas Hanakamp and Watch Captain Stig Westergaard. Might I add, these are two very tall men!

began with race details one would stereotypically share with a "reporter/journalist" but each chat drifted towards normal sailor-to-sailor conversation about sailing, peoples perceptions of the sport and the heart and soul of why these guys are here doing this race. Candid conversation of why this race means something to them all. This is not simply a "day job" for any of these guys, it's too extreme for such.

You have to want to be here. These boys...they each want it. This is a team event which team has the group of sailors who want it the most?

More to come from Alicante ~ Cheers!

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