England cricketer Graeme Swann’s comment to Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Nick Dana at the start of leg three, that he must be on a day off if he was carrying the video camera, hinted at a prevailing ignorance over the lives and livelihoods of Volvo Ocean Race sailors.
Dana is the specialist media crew member with responsibility for all the words, pictures and footage coming off the boat in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Swann had no idea the MCM is a professional role or that Dana has to be an experienced sailor, a technical wizard and a diplomat of exceptional gifts. Most tasks have to be completed amid the grunts of colleagues who would rather the camera was a thousand leagues under the sea.
Visitors to Volvo Ocean Race boats often assume sailors go racing for the love of the sport. They are surprised to hear that sailing is a profession with massive pay packets available for the best practitioners.