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
Pirates of the Caribbean