Telefonica go swiming on Tyneside
This is a 20-hour course held over two days, with the central aim of giving the crews as much experience and information as possible about how to deal with certain dangerous situations and to teach them about emergency equipment, such as flares and life-rafts. It’s an overall view of techniques in how to survive in the most extreme situations.
The first day of the course was water-based at the South Tyneside College swimming pool at the Marine Safety Training Centre. This is a cold water pool with a wave machine, in which the Telefónica Blue and Telefónica Black crews wore the same life jackets they’ll be using during the Race, as well as the same survival clothing they wear on board. This has given the Telefónica team members a solid grasp of how to react in situations out on the water using all the available equipment, for example how to launch the life-rafts or how to form a group in the water and count to check there’s nobody missing.
Sunday was the second day in the UK, and the course focussed on use of fire-fighting materials, especially the particular types specified for use in the Notice of Race for the duration of the 9 months round the world competition. The teams were also given a refresher course in first aid, which was a useful reminder for the eleven crew members on board each of the Telefónica Volvo Open 70s on how to act if a fellow sailor, or indeed themselves, is in need of medical attention.
The teams returned to Alicante (Spain) on Monday morning where they finally came face to face with their rivals in the imminent 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race.