ADOR prepping for Volvo Ocean Race

I’m wondering what their out of office reply will be. “Got your email, thanks… but it’s unlikely I’ll reply anytime soon as I’m off sailing around the world for eight months with the Volvo Ocean Race.”

Wouter Kingma Blog for Abu Dhabi Volvo Ocean Racing 05

The team Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is in town and I had the privilege of spending a few days with them. They’d just announced the new crew for the Volvo ocean race and this was the first time they were all together in Abu Dhabi.

Over the course of three days, the agenda was all about having… fun & exploring the city, along with some training and official formalities. For me, it was awesome to spend time with some of the world’s best sailors. A couple of years ago, in the lead up to the previous Volvo Ocean Race, I had the pleasure of spending some time with them on their training boat.

Wouter Kingma Blog for Abu Dhabi Volvo Ocean Racing 04 Wouter Kingma Blog for Abu Dhabi Volvo Ocean Racing 03 Wouter Kingma Blog for Abu Dhabi Volvo Ocean Racing 02

I remember they were all so humble about the extremities and challenges of crossing the toughest seas. Replies to “What’s the key success factor to winning the race?” would be “Strong guys like these”, referring to Justin and ‘Animal’ or “Money and Luck“. Neil McDonald, a real VOR veteran having completed the race six times, pulled up a story about a previous experience along the coast of Vietnam where there were hundreds of fishing boat scattered along the coastline. At night, it was a monster task to stay out of trouble. These fishing boats don’t pop up on radars, nor are they lit, let alone expecting to meet a racing boat sailing at 15 knots. It’s a kind of Russian Roulette, sailing, so I guess luck does play a pretty big role.

I’m looking forward to spending some time with Tom Bishop, their on board reporter / videographer / photographer / storyteller to share some tricks on the photography side of things. Granted I’m not a hardcore sailing photographer, which becomes swiftly apparent when in ear shot of my amateur sailing lingo, but perhaps I can teach a thing or two about capturing candid hardcore action, my thought process of creating a varied bank of work (Tom’s biggest challenge I think) and share an insight into work flow and the quick turn around of images.

Wouter Kingma Blog for Abu Dhabi Volvo Ocean Racing 06

Wouter Kingma Blog for Abu Dhabi Volvo Ocean Racing 07

I set up a full photo studio at the hotel to build a bank of head-shots on white which we followed with a series of environmental portraits at the stunning Monte Carlo Beach Club and further shots taken of the crew at various locations around town. Yes, it was a hectic three days!

The team will be stationed on the Portuguese coast for six months training with their new boat. Boys, good luck with all the prep for the big race. You have a great team spirit so keep it up!