To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.
communications equipment, Carlin says camera technique
is left largely up to the individual reporter. "If I'd wanted
help with that I could have had it, but I'd developed my
own style over about a three-year period and also wanted
to use my own gear," he says. This includes a Canon 5D
MkIII digital SLR with four different lenses and a GoPro
camera. The OBRs also have the option of shots from five
cameras built into the boat and audio through microphones
positioned round the vessel.
All this technology came into play on the evening of 29
November 2014, when Vestas Wind was passing through
the Indian Ocean. "It was 6.30 local time and there was a
squall coming in on the port side (left-hand) of the boat,"
Carlin recalls. "The sun was going down and I went below
deck to finish cooking the meal, which was something
horrible and freeze dried. Not long after that we were
getting thrown about and I went about four metres, banging
my head on the forward bulkhead."
The yacht had struck the Cargados Carajos Shoals, an
isolated reef 240 nautical miles northeast of Mauritius.
Looking up through the hatch and seeing the boat was
grounded, Carlin hit the crash button. This activated the
emergency audio-visual recording system that is fitted to
all the Volvo Ocean Race boats to capture the four minutes
before an incident and then the subsequent four minutes.
A crewmate radioed a distress message, but because the
telemetry of each boat is monitored, the Volvo Ocean Race
control centre knew the second the accident happened.
Further reassurance came when, Carlin says, the masthead
of competing vessel Team Alvimedica, was spotted. Its
crew was contacted by VHF radio and they remained on
standby in case immediate help was needed.
While his crewmates dealt with the damage to the hull,
Carlin got on with the job he says he was trained to do. "I
ran back to the media desk to get footage off the system,"
he recalls. "I couldn't find some of the cables I needed but
managed to copy files to hard drive. I then had to decide
what to shoot on - my Canon or the GoPro - and what
other equipment to save." Opting for the GoPro, he put the
Canon and gear he didn't need immediately into peli cases
or waterproof bags.
By 3.30 in the morning and with waves pounding the
Vestas Wind, skipper Chris Nicholson decided to abandon
ship and get the crew into a life raft. As sharks were in the
water they couldn't get very far and so stayed tied to the
boat until morning. "We kept in touch using the VHF radio
and the Cobham antenna systems, both of which were
working," Carlin says.
The daylight brought with it a coastguard boat, which
rescued the team and took them to the isolated islet of Ile
Du Sud. There they remained for two days until a fishing
boat, the Eliza, came past on one of its infrequent visits
and ferried the yachtsmen to Mauritius. While on the
island, Nicholson organised salvage trips to Vestas Wind
to remove, supplies, hardware - including Carlin's video
gear and the comms equipment - plus anything that could
potentially harm the eco-system of the reef.
Eventually, all traces of the boat were removed
from the area.
Carlin later worked with the Volvo Ocean Race video
production team to edit his footage into packages for
broadcast and posting online. This material also formed the
basis of an eloquent presentation he gave at a gala dinner
for all the competing crews in Abu Dhabi.
Vestas Wind is being rebuilt and the team hopes to rejoin
the race when it reaches Lisbon in June. Carlin, clearly
undaunted by events in the Indian Ocean, will be with them
again: "I'm itching to get some sailing done. I'm not sure
this kind of comeback has been done before, so it's a
fantastic story and one I want to tell. It'll be one of
those stories I can look back on in 20 years, which
is pretty cool."
KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 99 MARCH 2015 | 75