Volvo Ocean Race: Reporters Wanted

The Volvo Ocean Race is seeking qualified candidates for onboard reporters for its 2014-'15 edition. Do you have the stomach?

Sailing World

Hamish Hooper: MCM

Hamish Hooper, media crewmember with Camper/Emirates Team New Zealand in the 2011-'12 Volvo Ocean Race, earned the race's top MCM, despite chronic sea sickness.IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race

The job listing's video teaser says it best: "The best media job in the world . . . Or the worst?" This is a question only a select number of past Volvo Ocean Race media crewmembers can honestly answer, and those I've spoken to over the years offer the predictable response:

“It depends.”

It depends on whether you can tolerate organizing making freeze-dried meals for 10 grumpy, hungry, sleep-deprived men. And then doing their dishes for nine months.

It depends on the thickness of your skin and your ability to deflect the evil, hairy eye that says, “Get that f’n camera out of my face. I’m not in the mood,” and the ability to turn the introverted outward.

Or it depends on whether one’s idea of the ideal work environment is a dark, wet, noisy carbon drum, watching file-transfer status updates as gigabytes spool from the media station to passing satellites.

Frankly, most media crewmembers eventually confess that it’s a miserable environment, not quite as glorified as one would imagine, but when it’s all said and done, an experience like no other. To feed the audience’s (and the respective sponsors’) appetite for 24/7 media, it’s a critical peg of the race. Without the stills, videos, and words streaming off the boat, there would be no human attachment. No shared experience. No reason to care. We’d have only a boat race, with computer-generated boats inching around a big blue virtual world.

And so once again Volvo Ocean Race management will keep with the practice of an embedded reporter and is seeking qualified applicants to fill the rolls of media crewmembers, or as they will call them for 2014-15, “Onboard Reporters” (OBRs). The title change reflects a slight variation in the role, yet to be fully defined in the Notice of Race, that, for starters, will have them cooking and swabbing only on their designated watch (less time with the soap and more time at the editing station). That much I could glean from race management yesterday.

Also, yet to be clarified is whether the OBRs would be employees of the teams, or of the Volvo Ocean Race, a change that would make them beholden to the race’s needs and then to individual boat sponsors. There were numerous “conflicts” in past editions.

Either way, qualified candidates seeking misery, adventure, and the once-in-a-lifetime experience can get their foot in the Volvo Ocean 65 companionway by sending a resume and cover letter to reporters@volvooceanrace.com.

Candidates will be required to spend five weeks at the Volvo Ocean Race headquarters in Alicante, Spain, for training, and then those approved will “be placed” with one of the teams for the pre-race period and the race itself.