Exhausted: Full Days for PUMA Ocean Racing

Photo by Arden Oksanen / Volvo Ocean Race

PUMA Ocean Racing have been in intense training mode in the Canary Islands, spending long sessions in the gym followed by days and nights at sea. As the team prepare for a much needed break, helmsman/trimmer Jonathan Swain gives us an inside view of what life in Lanzarote has been like.

“A typical day for us starts at 0700 at the gym,” says the 44-year-old Jono. Like all his crewmates, the South African sailor looks extremely fit, which is not a surprise given that they stay in the gym until 0830 every day.

“Then we go home for shower and breakfast and we meet down at the base at about 0945. We have a meeting about what we’re gonna do that day. We normally dock out at 11 and are back from four to six in the evening… Unless we decide to do an overnighter.

“Every week we do at least one overnighter. We run some tests during the day and then at night we have two or three guys on deck. We normally go upwind, which isn’t very nice because it’s not much sleeping. Normally we travel 140 miles during the night and then we would turn around and either do some reaching or running back to the base or either stay out another night and do it again. By that time you are pretty tired!”

The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG Propulsion base in Marina Puerto Calero is a familiar one to some of the sailors.

“It’s the first time I’m here,” adds Swain, “but some of our guys were based in Lanzarote for several months with Ericsson in 2008. They pushed us from the very beginning to go there and train there at least a couple of months.

“It’s a very good place to train: you can have the mainsail up and be sailing within a couple of minutes. It’s warm and very breezy weather. Twenty knots plus is guaranteed. It really helps our programme because in Newport it was tough to find strong winds and consistent breeze the whole time.”

After a month of training, it’s now time for Swain and his team mates to leave for a 10-day break. They will all be back in September for a final training session before heading to Alicante at the end of the month, ahead of the race start on October 29 in Alicante.