Abu Dhabi – As the 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race begins, we take a glimpse at what a day on the Azzam is like for the sailors. Determined to win, the IWC Schaffhausen Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew describe a typical day on board while racing.
In the Volvo Ocean Race the concept of night and day soon disappears as the sailors’ minds and bodies quickly adapt to the four hours on/four hours off watch system (shifts). Knowing what time of day it is on board IWC’s boat can also be a challenge when you are racing across oceans, switching between hemispheres and traversing time zones, thus to compensate, official boat time is set as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) (also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Zulu Time). The eight men are split into two watches of three with the skipper and navigator operating separately outside the watch system. An individual sailor’s ‘day’ - or more accurately their 24-hour cycle - could begin in daylight or darkness but either way will generally begin with them being shaken awake in their bunk by one of the opposite watch.
If they are lucky there will be a hot drink waiting for them in the galley area for them to slurp on once they have retrieved their wet weather gear from the hanging rack and struggled it on along with their sea boots. After 15 minutes or so to get dressed, drink their hot drink and perhaps even make and eat freeze-dried meal, it is time to clamber up on deck to start your watch. Depending on the weather, you could be stepping out into pleasant conditions on deck or perhaps into a bucking bronco of a cockpit as the yacht pounds upwind over big waves, or then again it could be into a whirlpool bath of swirling white water coming down the deck as the boat tears downwind. According to skipper Ian Walker, whatever the conditions, the golden rule is that you are never, ever, late on deck to start your watch.
Either way, it won’t be too long before you are in your bunk asleep for a few hours (that will feel like minutes) before someone calls your name, gives your foot a shake and says “Sorry mate, it’s that time again.”
With a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity. One of the world’s leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of haute horlogerie at their finest, combining supreme precision with exclusive design. As an ecologically and socially responsible company, IWC is committed to sustainable production, supports institutions worldwide around the globe in their work with children and young people, and maintains partnerships with organizations dedicated to climate and environmental protection.