Olympic Silver Medalist Star sailor Mark Covell made a name for himself (again) with the best writing to come out of the Volvo Ocean Race the last time around from aboard Team Russia. He’s picked up where he left off with his reports from Oman Sail’s Arabian 100 trimaran "Majan" on their circumnavigation to establish the course for the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race. They’re currently in the Southern ocean and Mark’s sending in some exclusive reports for the Anarchists along with his extensive body of more public work from the trip.
Good morning Sailing Anarchy! When the sea and the sky join together as one, and with every breath you take you spit out a mouthful of brine, you know it’s windy. Oman Sail’s mighty A100 trimaran ‘Majan’ took her first look at dealing with windspeeds of 70 knots+ very well! What a ride! As soon as there was enough light to shoot, I got on deck with my stills camera (Cannon 5d) in a dive bag and shot nothing but blurred water cascading over more blurred water. I was trying to capture the look on the crew’s faces and the waves breaking over the boat.
Mohsin and Mohammed, our Omani crew members, were coping well for their first time in violent storm force winds, tapping hurricane conditions. They are tired and battered, but taking strength from the great leadership on board.
The sky was so grey and the air was so full of water I gave up with the camera, and reached for the Sony A1 in a hard waterproof dive case. Harnessed to the boat in two strong spots, I ventured out onto the windward trampoline to get a wider shot. It was blowing 55 knots and the aggressive motion of the boat meant that I filmed nothing but my foot and my chin and something wet grey and blurred in the middle.
We were down to the 4th reef and no headsail when I put my hand cameras down, took my foul weather gear off, strapped myself into the media station down below, and with a nice mug of English Tea started filming the 70-knot footage that you see here. I have two decks and four fixed cameras to work with. The best being the ones on the mast. We sat in awe seeing the images out side on the tiny view finder, feeling every wave as we were shoved, pushed and pounded by the now 65 knot winds. It topped out at dusk gusting a cool 71 knots, just as we had to gybe! I had to stop filming at that point.
Next was the job of ingesting the footage into final cut pro and sending it off the boat using Inmarsat Fleet BroadBand 500 (the same as we used on the Volvo). This was a little tricky to get the software working whilst the laptop kept launching itself off the desk. So I had it wedged under one arm and strapped myself onto the seat so as not to hit the ceiling. I don’t particularly enjoy the post-production side of this job; but for once I was happy to be tucked (well strapped!), into my media station rather than up on deck in the pitch black.
I hope more boats and races start to take dedicated media crews – so they can fully tell the story from on board and bring you images like these.
See more at the Majan site and at and the OC Events Asia site. Also, you can win a new Musto jacket from Oman Sail if you go to their Facebook Fan site and pick the correct answer (to the decimel point) on what their max wind reading will be between now and when they reach Cape Leeuwin. Not bad.