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He who travels far and fast, must travel light

 Onboard Groupama 4, Charles Caudrelier and his bag © Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team
Onboard Groupama 4, Charles Caudrelier and his bag © Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team

Whether it is for one day or three weeks’ sailing, each Volvo Ocean Race competitor packs one bag, about half a metre in length, which must contain everything from their underwear to music on their iPod that will help take them to their “happy place”.

Pictures of loved ones are often also snuck on board, and if you’re a traditionalist like Groupama sailing team’s Damian Foxall you also pack several Christmas cakes for the festive season.
Much to the amusement and gastronomic delight of his crewmates, Foxall managed to include several baked goods in his limited luggage in preparation for Christmas at sea during the 15-day race from Cape Town to the secret port in the Indian Ocean.

Groupama boat captain Martin Krite could only but wonder how the Irishman managed to fit so much inside such a small space.

“I was surprised he had enough clothes for the leg, because he always had a different Christmas cake, a Christmas present, everything was coming out of that bag,” said Krite.

The Swede said the team had suggested an alternate luggage arrangement for their relatively compact skipper Franck Cammas; after all, it’s all about saving weight on board the state-of-the-art Volvo Open 70s.

“We tried to convince Franck to bring a smaller bag, because he is smaller than us, but it didn’t work,’’ he laughed.

As for Krite, he usually packs plenty of clothes to help keep warm when on the cold overnight watches, which also help to tone down the inevitable smell of a man who has gone without a real shower for longer than anyone ever should.

Krite said he also likes to have a few mementoes of his wife Emilie and their sons William and Valdemar, plus his iPod to help him fall asleep when off watch.
 
“We have a standard bag, which you can fill as you want, but I would strongly recommend to bring clothes,’’ he said.

“It’s about half a metre long. I cannot bring anything else – this is all my personal belonging. 

“The two personal things I bring are usually an iPod and a laminated picture of my family. The iPod is nice to listen to some music when trying to sleep on board to go away to a happy place. 

Telefónica watch leader Neal McDonald said that what he packs in his bag these days is quite different to when he competed in his first of five Volvo Ocean Races in 1997.

The 48-year-old from Britain said packing an iPod complete with his favourite songs was now a necessity, especially to help drown out the grinding of winches, cracking of sails and gusting wind on deck when he is trying to sleep.

“We are on deck at least 50 per cent of the time. The other 50 per cent, you have to sleep and eat,’’ he said.  “I don’t take books, but the music actually takes away the noise and helps to sleep.”

Check out what Volvo's on-water race analyst Jerry Kirby packed in his bag during the 2008-09 race on board PUMA's il mostro HERE.


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