Jon Gunderson chats about life on board Team News Corp

Now that we are 17 days into the first leg of the VOR and over half the way to Cape Town we are settled into a pretty steady routine. For the last week or so we have been sailing in steady trade winds which make for an even more regular schedule on board from day to day.

The 12 crew are split into two watches of five and the navigators, Nick (White) and Ross (Field). The two watches alternate sailing four hours and then sleeping for four hours.

In addition to trimming, I am responsible for the food on board and collecting all of the media content for Nick to send off whenever he goes on-line to get weather information.

The food works quite easily, our watch prepares a meal at the end of each four hours we sail, we eat breakfast at 8am (GMT), lunch at 4pm and dinner at midnight. Justin (Slattery), Joe (Spooner) and myself take turns at preparing the meals in the last hour of our watch – depending on who is busy at the time. Alby (Pratt) often gets up early from his sleep and makes the lunch. The new watch then eats before they come on deck and we eat when we go down.

The media side of things is a little more difficult. The rules require that we send, eight minutes of video and ten still pictures off the boat each week, in addition to the daily e-mails. One minute of video takes 15-20 minutes to send off the boat and the call costs USD10 per minute! I generally do the media stuff during my off watch in the afternoon – from 4pm till 8pm.

While the weather is pleasant and the sailing is easy, obtaining the required amount is manageable, however the minute things get a little more exciting the media station becomes hard work! Aside from the fact that I get ill trying to type and work on the computer when pounding into a seaway (I learnt on the second day to eat my food after I do the media stuff!) Nick also has a lot of trouble getting on line in the bumpy conditions. Our little satellite dish is a bit temperamental – it has given Nick a lot of trouble – and if the water is not smooth it is far from reliable.

Just after noon yesterday we crossed the equator. I spent the next 15 minutes with a flying fish in my mouth suffering a horrible fate at the hands of King Neptune – an ancient sea faring tradition for people sailing across the equator for the first time.

Anyway I had better stop the waffle, I’ve got three minutes to be on deck and being late is not an option!


(Jon Gunderson)