Volvo Ocean Race - Scalpel again for Camper bowman + Video

Team Medic Tony Rae removing the oral stitches of Mike Pammenter onboard CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Cape Town, South Africa to Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race©
Camper’s Mike Pammenter, for the second time in two months, has found himself lying flat on his back with a scalpel only millimetres from his face.

'Trae took his time, did a good job and my mouth wasn’t bleeding by the end of it so it was good' - Camper bowman Mike Pammenter.

If the choppy sea wasn’t enough to worry about, it was also the second time the 28-year-old South African, bowman on Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand, had to put up with having Tony Rae’s weathered hands poking about in his mouth.

Pammenter was one of the casualties of Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race, losing a tooth and splitting his lip when a massive wave swept him into Camper’s rigging.

At the time Rae, the team’s onboard medic, performed a mid-sea operation on his crew mate to patch up his bust lip. Pammenter had a temporary tooth fitted in Cape Town, but today it was time for the three stitches in his lip to come back out again.

'It was a little bumpier than we wanted but we really needed to get the stitches out,' Pammenter said. 'They told us to take them out after a week, and it was something like 11 days. We had to take the opportunity and just go for it.'

'When we initially decided we were going to do it it was quite flat and calm but as soon as the scalpel and scissors and tweezers came out it seemed to be a lot bumpier than we thought.'

'Trae [Tony Rae] took his time, did a good job and my mouth wasn’t bleeding by the end of it so it was good. Hopefully that’s the last time I will have to see the onboard doctor.'

It won’t, however, be the last time Pammenter has to see a dentist. The tooth fitted in Cape Town is only temporary and will need replacing by the time the team get to Auckland in New Zealand in March.

Pammenter, who damaged his foot in the 2008-09 race while bowman on Telefónica Black, said injuries are not uncommon in his line of work. 'It’s the nature of the job,' he added. 'Being bowman on board these boats is very difficult.

'If you go through every single bowman they always end up with some sort of injury during the race. It’s just part and parcel of the job really. I’ve been a little bit nervous, I think. Any little fragile hit I ease off, but it’s been ok.'

Volvo Ocean Race website