sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Volvo Ocean Race: Call of Duty comes first for Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race: Call of Duty comes first for Team Alvimedica

'Chris Banning and Team Alvimedica, Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15'    Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race    Click Here to view large photo

Many have attempted to describe just how hard it is to sail in a Volvo Ocean Race, but what we rarely hear is how getting to the starting line can be just just as tough.

Less than 70 men and women earn the privilege of racing around the world at this level every three years. It’s a race within a race.

We don’t often tell the stories of those who don’t make it, because, frankly, it’s not uncommon. But in the case of Lt. Chris Branning, we’ve made an exception.

Before I met Branning – that’s what he goes by - I would never had make the link between something as simple as making your bed and achieving your wildest dream.

But if there’s one thing that I took away from my time spent with him, it’s that every decision – from the grand to the seemingly mundane - is connected.

From age 18, Branning made his bed every morning at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, commonly known as King’s Point.

Lt Chris Banning (left) USCG Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 -  Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race   Click Here to view large photo

('If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another' - Admiral McRaven)

In his mind, the academy presented the shortest route to his childhood dream: flying military aviation. So he made the decision to sacrifice thirsty Thursdays and all of the animal-house trappings of a typical college experience to march, study and spend a year at sea.

But even he could never have imagined how far those choices would take him. Branning is more than ok with being a detail-oriented perfectionist. It’s a valuable trait for any rescue aviator or offshore navigator.

It was one of the reasons that he was the first person called by Charlie Enright and Mark Towill when they finally received the green light to assemble Team Alvimedica.

Rewind to 2007. That’s when Branning first met Charlie and Mark, on the set of Roy Disney’s true-life sailing documentary, ‘Morning Light’. They hit it off immediately. But getting there wasn’t as smooth.

At first, Branning’s command at King’s Point denied his request to take part in the movie. Branning decided to appeal and re-state his position. His case was convincing enough.

On set, during what he describes as his first real team experience onboard Morning Light, that he fell in love with offshore racing, navigation and the night sky at sea.

Gazing up at the indescribable canvas of constellations from the deck of Morning Light, Branning made another big decision: that his future was in rescue aviation, not combat.



The U.S. Coast Guard’s mission makes sense to any sailor, and there are many synergies between the two roles. Each Volvo Ocean Race team has just one navigator, and, second only to the skipper, no role bears greater responsibility for safety and strategy onboard.

The world’s best offshore navigators –it’s a small club- arrive at this niche no differently than the elite few who are allowed to fly rescue helicopters for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Early on, they plot out the shortest, most efficient route, and then they start and end every day and make every decision between with that sole obsession in mind.

There are only 600 rescue helicopter pilots in the whole of the United States military – you have to be damn good at making split second decisions in tough situations.

Branning’s first open ocean, right seat hoist was on December 6th, 2013. His flight team was en route to an emergency off the Florida Keys when two parachute flares were launched off their nose.

The team made a snap call to investigate and ten minutes later two sailors had been pulled from the black and unforgiving Atlantic. Their boat had capsized and sunk five minutes earlier, albeit, in the right place at the right time.

Team Alvimedica, Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 -  Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race   Click Here to view large photo

And just 30 days later Charlie would call with the opportunity of a lifetime to send his two polar dreams into a collision course.

Burning through every single day of his vacation leave to help Charlie and Mark take delivery of their new Volvo Ocean 65 was a no brainer, but his chances of making that spot on board were looking slimmer by the day.

I remember Branning on the back of the boat, explaining the reality of his situation, before adding, 'but I’m hopeful, you know, I never let go of a dream.'

Months later, standing on the beach in Newport, RI, the two of us in civilian garb, I asked Branning: 'How did it feel to watch the guys sail across the Atlantic without you that first time?'

'I’ll be honest with you,' he said. 'I see them on Instagram, and I like it… And I see them on Facebook, and of course I like it. But it hurts man.'

Looking me in the eyes, he added, 'but I could never trade flying rescue helicopters forever to do a Volvo. And I was very clear about that with my command.' LT. Branning won’t be navigating Team Alvimedica around the world this year. One day he hopes to sail in the race.

Until then, he’ll still be looking out for his friends – but from 500 ft. up in the air.

Lt Chris Banning and Team Alvimedica, Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 -  Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race   Click Here to view large photo



by Sam Greenfield, Volvo Ocean Race


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=126077

11:27 PM Wed 27 Aug 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2014 -15 Volvo Ocean Race

Related News Stories:

28 Aug 2014  Volvo Ocean Race - Pablo Arrarte: 'El que se adapte antes, ganará'
26 Aug 2014  Volvo Ocean Race: Six months to Auckland Stopover
25 Aug 2014  WSSR announces new World Record Around Britain and Ireland
23 Aug 2014  Volvo Ocean Race - Team Brunel llega a Alicante esta noche
23 Aug 2014  阿布扎比队打破环英国及爱尔兰帆船赛单体帆船级别赛会纪录
22 Aug 2014  Volvo Ocean Race - Pas de répit après le Tour des Iles Britanniques
22 Aug 2014  Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad talks Time and Money (Part II)
22 Aug 2014  Volvo Ocean Race - It’s been emotional, but it’s time to move on
20 Aug 2014  Volvo Ocean Race: Forget the f-word - Team SCA profiled
19 Aug 2014  Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 CEO Knut Frostad talks (Part I)
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

















470 Men and Women Worlds - Champions decided in Santander by International 470 Class Association,
















































Big Boat Series - It's not the size, it's the length by Erik Simonson, Pressure-Drop.US,


ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander - Double French RS:X gold
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Day 8 images by Sailing Energy
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Finn leaders emerge from shifty Santander breeze
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - RS:X winner images by Barbara Sanchez
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio 2016 470 spots awarded
52 Super Series 2015 - Outlook looks hot for the 52 Super Series
Starboard Hatteras Wave Jam - Another early start on day 4
ISAF Sailing World - First entry leaves sailor's reputation in tatters
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Four go through to quarter finals
470 Men and Women Worlds - Champs take over leaderboard
ISAF Sailing World Champ - Buckingham finishes with career-best result
America's Cup: Oracle's Larry Ellison to step down as CEO
Classic Yacht Regatta - Sonny takes top classic prize
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Buckingham finishes with career best
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Rio 2016 RS:X spots claimed
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Leaderboards shaping up in Santander + Video
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Giles Scott continues to extend lead
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Day 7 images by Sailing Energy
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Laser and Radial winner images by Jesus Renedo
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Medal Race images by Sail-World.com
ISAF Sailing Worlds - Dutch dominate Laser and Radial in Santander   
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Quantum Racing more than doubles overall lead   
J/24 World Championship - Excitement builds for Newport racing   
Volvo Ocean Race - Seb Marsset joins Team Alvimedica   
Fall Seamanship training opportunities at New York Yacht Club   
Rolex Big Boat Series: More images from San Francisco - Final Day   
AWT Hatteras Wave Jam action commences on day 3   
Rolex Big Boat Series: Images from San Francisco - Final Day   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Watch medal races live here   
Hobie 16 Open North American Championships and Pan Am Games qualifier   
ISAF Sailing World Championship - Videos from Santander   
ISAF Sailing Worlds: Buckingham into Medal Race, 470's stay consistent   
470 Men and Women Worlds - Vadlau and Ogar into pole position   
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Defending champion on top   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Strong competition for RS:X fleets   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Big breeze on day 6 + Video   
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Buckingham into Laser Medal Race   
U.S. Multihull Championship - Hobie Alter Trophy to be decided   
ISAF Sailing Worlds - The kind of form most sailors only dream about   
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Quantum Racing ahead of target   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT