Volvo Ocean Race: Life as the onboard reporter

Published on June 16th, 2014

His cramped workspace is smaller than any cubicle. Whatever the temperature is like outside, it’s magnified at his desk. If it’s hot outside, it’s brutally hot inside. If it’s cold, he’s freezing.

There’s water everywhere, constantly dripping on him and his equipment, and often he’s working inches away from where people are trying to sleep, so he either works in the dark or with a small red light.

But Amory Ross wouldn’t trade his job for a 9-to-5 in an office.

Ross is an onboard reporter for Team Alvimedica, the American-led entry in the Volvo Ocean Race. Most of Ross’ time is spent below deck, filing reports and photos from the water.

“Basically 99 percent of this race happens outside the public’s eye. You can’t watch anywhere from the start to the finish, so it’s my job to bring what happens out there to all of you,” Ross said. “I’ll send off five to 10 photos, a video story and a written story every day of the race, and that’s the job. That’s what the sponsors need and that’s what the sport is looking for.

“Otherwise, you’d wave goodbye to these people, they’d go sail and you wouldn’t get anything else from them,” he said.

Ross, in Newport (RI) now with the team, has been calling Team Alvimedica home lately, and hopes to do so for the duration of the Volvo Ocean Race, which begins in October. The team’s training legs, like the 3,000-mile trans-Atlantic trek it just completed, are Ross’ audition for a job a lot of reporters would want no part of.

“The working environments are silly. It’s either 120 degrees down here, or 25, depending on where you are in the world,” he said. “It’s about as violent a workplace as you can imagine. You’ve got these waves and the boat’s bouncing around and you’re trying to type and your laptop is sliding or it’s levitating or crashing down.

“Fortunately I don’t get seasick, but you definitely get a little woozy looking at a computer screen that’s constantly moving. And everyone’s trying to get an hour or two of sleep, so you’re working in total darkness, water dripping everywhere – Chinese water torture on your head, your hands, your back. It’s miserable.” – The Newport Daily News, read on

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