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Mum, I want to be a Volvo sailor!

 

 

To be a Volvo Ocean Race sailor is to be a jack of all trades and a specialist in preferably several. And, it’s a non-stop life.

 

This week more than 550 school children from Auckland primary schools and further afield are finding out for themselves about the complexities and rewards, and the skill sets necessary to compete in the world’s premier ocean race.

 

In five-hour visits to the Volvo Ocean Race Village at the Viaduct Basin, groups of up to 40 children go sailing in small dinghies, get a first-hand taste of the cramped life in a Volvo Ocean 65 ocean racer, view the astonishing movie record of the shipwreck of Team Vestas Wind on a remote coral atoll, try their hands at tying sailor’s knots, get a close-up look at maintenance operations in The Boatyard and sail loft, walk through the impressive two-story pavilion of the all-women’s Team SCA, and have their photos taken with the imposing VOR trophy. There’s still time for a lightning visit to the adjacent New Zealand Maritime Museum where they can build a model boat from supplied parts and race it in a water flume. Whew! Plus, there’s half an hour for lunch.

 

Meredith Graham, a former school teacher is the coordinator for the school visits and reports that reactions are overwhelmingly positive. She had the same role three years ago.

 

“When schools sign up they don’t fully appreciate the depth and intensity of the programme,” she said. “They’re not sure what they are really signing up for until they get here and taste life in the village first-hand. All the feedback has been extremely positive.

 

Not surprisingly the popular programme has been over-subscribed. The week of visits ends this Friday.

 

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