Many of you who receive these updates are sailing enthusiasts who know the structure of this sport well. Since we formed the Pirates of the Caribbean team, we’ve reached out to a new audience who is not quite as familiar with sailing. For their benefit, I’d like to use this update to describe the function and significance of the other half of our Pirates of the Caribbean team who is rarely in the spotlight, but certainly deserves recognition.

While we have ten sailors who crew The Black Pearl, we also have 20 Pirates who encompass the shore team. As General Manager of the entire organization, my role is to ensure that both sides are in sync so that the ultimate goal-racing the boat in its best possible condition-is achieved. The shore team consists of the guys and girls who maintain The Black Pearl, fixing, rebuilding, and fine tuning her, who manage the logistics, information technology, shipping, clothing and gear, who set up our offices and infrastructure in each port and who then dismantle and pack it all away to be shipped in containers to the next. These, and a host of other tasks too numerous to write about here, are the responsibility of the shore crew. This is the “back office” of our entire organization comprised of a critical, necessary and very dedicated group of people who bring a wide variety of skills, knowledge and hard work to the table – normally the first ones to arrive at the base each day and the last to leave. That’s the shore team. All are sailors themselves and, like anyone involved in this sport and especially those who make a living out of it, share a passion for it.

Meet Gerardo Siciliano from Italy (or Gerry as we like to call him.) His main responsibilities as part of the Pirates of the Caribbean shore team include rigging, working on the dagger board and mast, and taking care of the ropes, among other things. The boats have more than 1,300 meters (4,265 ft.) of rope with more than 150 splices which must be checked or replaced at each stop over.

Gerry has been with the team since its inception and actually helped build the boat. He got into the sport out of a desire to travel around the world and 15 years later he has done just that. When asked what his favourite part of the job is, he responded, “Being with all the others, sharing this lifestyle and improving my knowledge of different cultures.” When asked what his least favourite aspect of the job is, he thought and then responded, “I really can’t think of anything.”

While every job in any industry has some areas that are less desirable than others, Gerry’s answer is very typical and representative of what you find in sailing – people who are in it because they love it and want to be in it.

Meet Martin Klug, or Martini as we like to call him – our IT guy, from Sweden. Martin is the epitome of a genuine multi-tasker. To sum up his job, there are three main responsibilities:

1) Prior to arriving at a port, he establishes the footprint of infrastructure needed from an operational perspective on the base. This usually entails a recon trip to the base prior to arrivals. Here he begins the planning of what the team will need to function efficiently including office space for the entire team, electricity, water, air-conditioning, phone and internet service, among other things.

2) Once the shore team arrives at the base, he needs to ensure that the infrastructure is up and running, that the trailers (offices as we like to call them) contain all the necessary, functioning elements such as printers, chairs, desks and office supplies.

3) When the boat arrives, he has to recheck the on board electronics to make sure everything is working up to par and he has to make good use of the incredible amount of data and raw product coming off the boat in the form of images and video footage and make that useful to our partners such as Disney and Pescanova. He also has to attend to all IT requests on a daily basis.

Martin is also there to do whatever else may be needed. That could include renting cars or making a trip to the super market as well as producing from scratch some of the best videos of the team sailing that he puts to great music. When asked what he finds most intriguing about his position, he said, “I really enjoy the challenge of setting up and breaking down the “travelling circus” from port to port. Establishing an infrastructure in Cape Town can be quite different from doing that in Melbourne, for example. You constantly learn and improve the system. I also thrive on the extraordinary circumstances. Organizing the flight of The Black Pearl from Portugal to Cape Town was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was harder and more logistically challenging than anyone could have imagined, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences ever.”

The responsibilities of Gerardo and Martin illustrate two diverse, yet critical roles in the shore team. There are many, many others who-when put together-make up the great team that we have called the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Curt Oetking – USA

Mike Danks – NZ

Vaughn Taylor – NZ

Robbie Young – USA

Charlie Coulborn – UK

Ross Monson – UK

Rikard Grunnan – USA

Murray Mc Donnell – USA

Gerry Siciliano – ITA

Craig Gurnell – NZ

Jeremy Smith – NZ

Andre Julius – SA

Martin Klug – SWE

Susan Mitton – IRL

Jennifer Hall – CAN

Mark Reihana – NZ

Jo Warren – NZ

Rob Myles – USA

Paula Satterthwaite – NZ

Tony Pohl – USA

Kimo Worthington

General Manager

Pirates of the Caribbean

Yesterday was the day that showed what it is like to have big, fast, boats racing together on a short course. What an exciting day for spectators and sailors alike. The conditions were excellent; clear skies, 15 knots at the start that built to 20 knots by the finish. There were at least four lead changes during the race and plenty of spectacular action as these undermanned boats were put to the test in closed course racing. In the final moments of the race, Pirates on port was closing with Movistar on starboard, each boat planing at 20 knots. It was neck and neck for the last three minutes and only in the last 30 seconds was it apparent that we would be able to just squeak across Movistar’s bow and beat them across the line.

One of the great stories of the day was Brasil 1 making the start. They only got their spare mast in the boat at 0230 the morning of the race and had no time to train or even tune the rig. At the first windward mark, they had a handy lead which received and great round of applause from the spectator fleet. They later had trouble on a spinnaker set and finished 5th place.

With just 11 crew onboard, dousing the 500 sq meter spinnakers proved to be a defining element in the results as a few of the teams coughed up some valuable distance at the end of the run. Gybing the 500 sq meter kite with just four men grinding was also a workout in 20 knots of wind. On the second run we passed ABM AMRO ONE by matching them on a simultaneous gybe that the Pirate crew executed a bit better than their counterparts which allowed the Pearl to roll ABN AMRO ONE. 5 minutes later, ABN tried to return the favor but could not make it stick and we were able defend our second position at the bottom of the run while Brasil 1 was still in the lead.

As the wind built, the upwind speed of ABN AMRO ONE was too much for any of us to match and she took the lead on the third windward leg and never relinquished it. We did close in on her on the third run to round the leeward mark just 8 seconds behind. ABN AMRO ONE stretched out her lead up the last windward leg while we held a comfortable second place over Movistar who was followed by Ericsson.

While rounding the last windward mark, the Pirates spinnaker tore. I have to admit that I thought we were toast and that our hard earned second place would turn in to a fourth. But the Pirates got into action and got the back up spinnaker up and flying within 2 minutes. Our 45 second lead evaporated and it was a horse race to the finish with Movistar. All is well that ends well, and the second place was ours.

A couple of things that I took from yesterday was that our speed, in general, was very good. During our training last week we worked hard on our mast tune, re-cut our mainsail and studied different jib and mainsail settings. The result was that our upwind speed was as good as any of the other Farr boats if not better. ABN AMRO ONE did have a noticeable edge on the fleet once the wind got over 17 knots. Downwind we are very fast even against the other Farr boats and this is where we had an edge on ABN AMRO ONE on every run. On the in port race course, with equal distance upwind and downwind, the upwind speed edge is more valuable than a downwind advantage as getting out in front and sailing free while approaching the first windward mark is extremely valuable. Offshore, the round the world race is mostly downwind and reaching so hopefully we will find enough of the downwind conditions to allow us to have a speed advantage over ABN AMRO ONE which now has a commanding lead in this race.

The other important fact from yesterday was that our crew work was second to none. These are not easy boats to sail and you need some good techniques and solid execution in order to handle them. The speed at which they approach the leeward marks is impressive and requires a spinnaker drop several hundred meters from the mark.

I still believe there is a lot of potential left to be found in sail shapes, trimming techniques and crew work so I am pushing the Pirates to strive to a higher level in all these areas.

In closing, I want to acknowledge out shore team, a group of 15 professionals, who did an excellent job of getting the Black Pearl back on line here in Melbourne. We limped into town and we were strong yesterday and will be strong on the next leg thanks to their great work. Since we arrived 13 days ago, more than 1000 man hours have been lathered on the Pearl. Last night at the prize giving, our shore team joined the crew on the stage.

This week’s schedule: Sunday – dress rehearsal for the Pescanova kids event and replacement of the pistons and rods in the keel hydraulics. Tomorrow is Pescanova Day and a Disney guest sail in the afternoon. Tuesday will be a day out sailing to look at some new sails and Wednesday-Thursday is maintenance, prep and loading the boat. Friday is a short sail to make sure all is in order and Saturday is off for the crew. Sunday at 1400 is the start of the “sprint” to Wellington. Jules and I will be studying the weather all week with our meteorologist, Jean Yves Bernot.

We will restart from Wellington to Rio on February 19 at 1400.

Paul Cayard

Pirates of the Caribbean