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Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover News 13 - The man at the helm

by VOR Auckland Stopover on 5 Mar 2012
The Volvo Pavilion being built in the Auckland race village, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race© http://www.volvooceanrace.com

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet has finished Leg 3 in Sanya (China), and are gearing up for the nest leg to Auckland. Read the latest news here on the Auckland Stopover

It's now just 5 days to go until the fleet is scheduled to arrive in Auckland and our e-newsletter Event HQ brings you the latest news from the Race, the Auckland Stopover and the Race Village.

AUCKLAND HOSPITALITY SHOWCASE THE RACE SCHOOLS NEWS MEDIA VOLUNTEERS GALLERY

Issue 13

5 March 2012

As the fleet battle it out on the way into Auckland, excitement is building as the day of arrival gets closer. Read the latest Race news here

It's now just 3 days to go until the official Race Village opening and our e-newsletter Event HQ brings you the latest news from the Race, the Auckland Stopover and the Race Village.

The 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race

The Race features nine Legs with Stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajai (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France) with the finish in Galway (Ireland) in July 2012.

Six teams have entered the Race, including CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand.

News from CAMPER

Keep up to date with the latest news direct from Emirates Team New Zealand entry CAMPER by reading the ETNZ blog. Read more [Sorry, this link had a problem]s" href="http://etnzblog.com/#%21news" target="_blank">here.

Follow the Race

The organisers of the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race have made it easy to follow the live action from the Race every minute of the day. There's live video streaming, a Race Tracker, blogs, daily updates on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in addition to global media coverage. Find all the links here

The Auckland Stopover

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is now scheduled to arrive in Auckland at the end of Leg 4 from Sanya (China) on Saturday 10 March 2012 (subject to change). The Pro-Am Race is on Friday 16 March and the In-Port Race on Saturday 17 March. The Start of Leg 5 will take place on Sunday 18 March.

View the Race Village

Get a sneak preview of the the Auckland Stopover with our 3D flyover video and see how Auckland's Viaduct Harbour is being transformed into the Race Village. Watch it here

Website

Keep up to date with all the news from the Auckland Stopover on our website . We are on Facebook and Twitter too.

The man at the helm

JackFor a guy with such a challenging job, Volvo Ocean Race Director Jack Lloyd seems incredibly relaxed.

Perhaps it 's due to many years of experience in America’s Cup and Volvo race management or maybe it is his Kiwi can-do attitude, or both. His role is to delicately balance the safety and well-being of the crew and yachts in the Race, the voracious public appetite for the latest information from the boats while being sympathetic to the needs of the sponsors, whose support is essential for an international event the magnitude of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Each Volvo Open 70 yacht is equipped with a plethora of electronic gear including Inmarsat (International Maritime Satellite) transmitters that send and receive information between the boats and Race Control in Alicante, Spain.

Through a dedicated Race Management System, weather and other safety information is sent to each boat twice daily. Bespoke transmitters on the boat send information such as position, course, boat speed, wind direction and speed, wave height, sea temperature and even data on the stresses the hulls may be experiencing while pounding through rough seas.

Race Control constantly monitors progress of the yachts and can determine within minutes if there is an issue on board. When it comes to safety at sea, time is of the essence. Data from the boats is posted to the Volvo Ocean Race website along with regular video, photos, voice and written stories hot off the boats.

To prevent any outside assistance to the competing yachts, Race Control monitors all voice and email communications and the yacht’s access to the internet is restricted. Race Control must protect the integrity of the Race while balancing the need for crew to share a birthday wish, happy anniversary or other important news with family and friends back home.

According to Jack, the biggest challenge with the Auckland Stopover is the short layover time between two very long race legs. The crew, whose caloric burn greatly exceeds intake while racing, have little time to replace their body mass. Every bit of electronic gear must be inspected and serviced to ensure it is ready for the next leg. And all this must happen in a week or less.

The next Leg takes the fleet through the Roaring Forties of the Southern Ocean where icebergs born in the Antarctic replace tropical coral reefs as the hard stuff the navigators must endeavour to avoid.

Jack’s challenge is to determine where there is the potential for icebergs along the route and set avoidance waypoints accordingly. This must be done prior to the start of the Leg. “Nobody likes to sail to a moving target,” says Lloyd.

Twenty-one Kiwis on five of the six strong fleet will be sailing home to New Zealand on this Leg but, according to Jack, Auckland is a special destination for most of the crews. Many of them have a strong affection for the City of Sails from previous Volvo Ocean Races and/or America’s Cup campaigns.

Those who haven’t been here are looking forward to the legendary warm Auckland welcome and experiencing some of the wonderful treats that only New Zealand has to offer.

Feeding the crews

After almost 20 days at sea, eating nothing but freeze-dried food, you might think a meal made from fresh ingredients would be high on a sailor’s wish list.

But one of the first requests has been for less healthy options – pizza and burgers.

“There will of course be plenty of good New Zealand fruit and vegetables available too,” says Alex Weatherhead, Director of Austin’s Food Design Events who have the catering contract for the Auckland Stopover. “The pizzas and burgers will only be served once a day. “All of our food is locally sourced. The meat comes from a little further afield, but still within the North Island.”

The crews and shore teams comprise a variety of nationalities, but Weatherhead says they have had no requests for special dietary requirements.

“There may be some that we haven’t heard about, but we do design menus to cover all possible options. For example, we don’t put bacon in the Caesar salad, all dressings are served on the side, and there’s always plenty of bread. Vegetarian meals can be easily constructed from any of the other offerings,” says Weatherhead. “There’s no particular Kiwi theme as such. We just use the best quality local products, and try to showcase good wholesome New Zealand food.”

Only five of the six crews will be catered for by Austin’s – Emirates Team New Zealand’s entry CAMPER has its own base and associated eating arrangements.

Even so, Austin’s will be supplying up to 200 lunches and 200 dinners a day for the duration of the Stopover. The numbers are made up of the boat crews (nine sailors per boat plus a media crew member for each) plus the land-based shore crews.

Austin’s are well-equipped to service such an event. Although this is not the largest they have ever attempted, it is one of the longest – most functions requiring expert catering are only one day, or two at the most.

The crew catering is based in the Viaduct Events Centre, under the control of Maggie Weatherhead, Austin’s Managing Director. She currently oversees a staff of about 10, but when the Race Village is in full swing, this will rise to 40.

They will be looking after not just the crew, but also the corporate hospitality in the Latitude Lounge on the top floor of the VEC.

And as for the numbers of bread rolls, lettuces and steaks needed for such a large undertaking – that’s another story.

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