Team Alvimedica: Training for real

Published on July 13th, 2014

Two rival Volvo Ocean Race crews have taken their training to the Atlantic Ocean, both leaving Newport (RI) on July 9 for the crossing to the United Kingdom.

While Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Alvimedica are strictly forbidden under Volvo Ocean Race rules to compete against each other over such a trip, they are aware of each other, but they are also aware of the logistical lessons to be gained.

Here’s a report from Amory Ross, On-Board Reporter for Team Alvimedica…

Not to state the obvious, but this is an important preparatory crossing for Team Alvimedica. With all but one of the crew confirmed and this being the first time the boat has been sailed offshore with a race-compliant nine onboard, we’ve got a long list of training tasks to accomplish and just eight or so days left to do it.

We’re running with the Gulf Stream and the air’s damp and water’s warm; our precious little fans are the only things keeping bunks bearable. But we don’t really know how much energy they take up, so we run them, and we run them hard because we need to learn.

Understanding energy consumption is crucial because it dictates battery charging intervals and more importantly, fuel stores. Bringing more fuel than necessary is heavy, and a heavy boat is slow. So, in essence, my slow-moving train of thought is burning laptop battery, costing the boat energy, fuel, and extra weight (must.think.faster). But we need to learn what a typical day’s energy needs are so we can provision and consume accordingly.

The same goes for food. I am in charge of packing and preparing the food and I keep telling the guys to eat what they want, what they think they’ll need. We have plenty to get us to Southampton but we need to start pegging quantities. If we clearly need more of something like protein powder, we’ll up it at the next opportunity. I definitely brought too many gummy bears, probably twice what’s needed. And is it two cans of Mountain House freeze dried per meal or three? We’ve never sailed with nine crew so this is our first chance to answer some of these questions.

The idea is to be race ready as soon as possible, but that doesn’t just include sail crossovers and trimming techniques. Racing around the world is a huge undertaking and training sessions like this one are vital to things like communication skills and organizing life onboard. It’s why we’re here, now, and the learning never stops.

Team Alvimedica:

Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race starts October 4 and will take the fleet to 11 cities in 11 countries – Spain, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, Brazil, United States, Portugal, France, The Netherlands, and Sweden – and will require the teams to cover 38,739 nautical miles. It will be the first edition using the new one design Volvo Ocean 65 racing boats. Race website:

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