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Accreditation team

 

 

You’ll see them on your left as you enter the Viaduct Events Centre - four women of varying ages and nationalities but always with matching welcoming smiles.

 

They are the accreditation team, the people who issue authorised passes allowing you access to various parts of the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover area.

 

Their work is not limited to the Auckland base. They travel the world with the yachts, performing the same job in each of the stopover ports. And they are a regular United Nations.

 

Magdalena Zyglowicz, the team leader, is Polish. She helped with the last Volvo race in 2008/9, and put up her hand for this one as soon as she heard about it. She arrives to help with setting up her ‘office’ ten days before the boats are due into port. She is responsible for all access accreditation, from media teams to builders constructing Stopover bases.

 

New Zealander Joss Lloyd, wife of Volvo Ocean Race director Jack Lloyd, is enjoying her second stint with the accreditation team. She and her husband have had a long association with the Volvo events and with yachting in general.

 

Melanie Harlay is French, and engaged to Nick Burridge, the rigger on Camper. The couple met in Antibes, and plan to marry in February 2014. This is Melanie’s first time with the Volvo team.

 

Englishwoman Christine Gray is married to Scott Gray, the Scottish rigger for Groupama. This is their second Volvo race; Scott was with Team Russia last time, and when that team withdrew, joined the Telefonika crew.

 

Melanie and Christine arrive in a new port seven days before the boats are expected, and Joss jets in four days later.

 

After the yachts have left on their next leg, the women pack up all their equipment, including computers, to be air-freighted to the next stopover. They have it down to a fine art, so that the area can now be cleared in about an hour and a half.

 

And although being part of the accreditation team brings some financial reward, the women all say they would do it for nothing. Well, who wouldn’t?

 

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