Survival of the fittest

Volvo Ocean Race Medical Co-ordinator Timo Malinen gives us his angle on the bumps and bruises in this race
While the sailing crews steal the limelight in the Volvo Ocean Race, what is less apparent is the huge infrastructure in place to keep the wheels of the round the world race turning. One significant cog in this Volvo Ocean Race machine, particularly with a significantly faster boat now being used, is Medical Co-Ordinator Timo Malinen. From Finland, a talented rock guitarist and also a sailor - he is one of VOR CEO Glenn Bourke's successful Laser SB3 crew - Malinen in normal life was once a physiotherapist, but is now a chiropracter, practising just outside of Hamble. But for the last two races Malinen has been an integral part of the Volvo travelling circus. "The race provides care for the whole race community so at any one time we can have up to 2,000 people to look after, but I am not looking after everyone - we’ve got local providers in every port," says Malinen when we see him in his office, on the dock just next to where Ericsson has been lifted out of the water in Cape Town. "If a journalist gets poorly they look after them. I am mainly responsible for the sailing teams, their shore team and our travelling race organisation, to make sure the race continues..." Malinen's job is extensive and includes setting up the medical infrastructure at every stopover, identifying local specialists, liasing with the local 'trauma centre' (known as Accident & Emergency in the UK) as well as restocking each boat's medical kit, liasing with the sailing teams and each boat's on board medics. This being Malinen's second time in the role with the VOR, he has had the opportunity to make improvements to the medical side of the race. Whenever a team signs up for example they now immediately get presented with an