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CAPTURING THE ACTION:
T he dream of any reporter is to be on the scene when
a story breaks and the action and drama unfold.
This happens to only a select few. Even fewer find
themselves right in the middle of events as they happen.
Brian Carlin knew he'd be getting good material reporting
from onboard a boat competing in the Volvo Ocean
Race, but not that he would end up recording how his
crewmates dealt with the aftermath of their yacht hitting a
reef, abandoning ship and then being stranded on a remote
island. Carlin and the crew of the Vestas Wind, sponsored by
the Danish wind turbine manufacturer, fell back on their
training and instincts to ensure everyone got out safely
and there was as little impact on the environment as
possible. Modern technology played a part as well, with
the boat constantly in contact with race control through
Volvo Ocean Race partner Cobham's IP, satellite and VHF
This is Carlin's first Volvo Ocean Race as onboard reporter
(OBR) and, like his counterparts on the six other boats
taking part in the challenge, his main brief is to record life
onboard. The OBR is not involved in the racing side of
crewing the vessel but does prepare meals in addition to
reporting duties. The 31-year old Carlin says he has had a
passion for sailing since the age of eight, getting involved
in the racing scene in his native Republic of Ireland. His
74 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 99 MARCH 2015
parallel interest in photography became part of this and
took a different direction when he was asked to conduct
interviews with race competitors for a YouTube channel.
Up until 2012 Carlin had spent six years working as an
architect, balancing the sailing and photography with his
day job. Then he made the big decision to make what
had been a hobby, his career. "I'd got a job as official
photographer when the America's Cup World Series
was in Ireland," Carlin explains, "and that made me think
about quitting architecture. In 2012 I became an onboard
cameraman for the World Match Racing Tour, although I
didn't know much about cameras at that point."
After this Carlin set his sights on the Volvo Ocean Race -
along with around two and a half thousand other people.
Just when he thought he hadn't made it through, Carlin
got a last minute invitation for an interview to take part.
Passing that, he went through OBR training in London and
at the Race's headquarters in Alicante under Volvo Ocean
Race senior producer Rick Deppe. "We also went to see
Inmarsat, Cobham and LiveWire to get familiar with the
equipment," Carlin says.
Cobham is a technology partner to the Volvo Ocean Race,
supplying IP connectivity through the NETNode Mesh
radio system the Cobham Surveillance business, plus
VHF radio systems and satellite antenna from Cobham
SATCOM. While the OBRs are instructed in how to use the