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TeamSpirIT Back in Touch

by Liz Addis,Quokka Sports on 23 Oct 2000
TeamSpirIT’s crew will be able to liaise with their family and friends at least once a week thanks to the yacht’s vital primary communications equipment.

Last week the team members faced waiting until the boat reached Buenos Aires before they were able to communicate with loved ones.

A lightning strike to the yacht’s mast during Hurricane Michael had wiped out its B-Sat and Mobiq which meant they could not send or receive e-mails or video footage.

But now the crew will use the C-Sat equipment to send a newsletter once a week and family will also be able to send short messages to their nearest and dearest. The C-Sat is usually kept exclusively for official communications about the yacht, the race and issues of safety. It can also be used to receive weather information and electronic charts. However, for the rest of this leg the TeamSpirIT crew will be allowed to use it once a week for media communications.

John Keating, Race Headquarters manager, said, “Because TeamSpirIT don’t have B-Sat we are going to revert to the last race methods where we will ask them to collate a boat newsletter and send it out once a week on C-Sat as a text message which we will circulate to everyone.

“Once a week we will also send short one-line messages from family and friends so they don’t feel too left out.” The news will no doubt be welcomed by the TeamSpirIT supporters.

Rachel Fellows, partner of new skipper John Read, said, “It will be nice to be able to at least say one line and to hear how they are feeling on board. It will be good to hear what’s been going on and how they are all feeling and how morale is.

“I have had a couple of e-mails from people saying it is a shame that they couldn’t be in touch with them so I think they will be very happy. It is definitely a good thing for support back here. Some of the families aren’t going to any of the stopovers so this is their only form of communication.”

In their last C-Sat message Read said the team were feeling high about being in the middle of the position table.

He said, the crew were, “Heading for Brazil, incidents under our belt. The team is feeling good.

“Lighting strikes, extreme equipment testing, loss of E-mail communications, Hurricane Michael, tropical rain, storms, all in a day's work with the world's toughest yacht race. Despite not feeling this is the gin and tonic leg yet (as Sir Chay Blyth reliably informed us) spirits are high.

“Looking forward to crossing the trade winds and entering the inter-tropical convergence zone (the doldrums) to pick up the south east trades off the Brazilian Coast.

“Crew in tango and learning Spanish. Doctor Millibar (Rob Willing) now also called the Olympic flame, as he never goes out (on deck), predicts more steaming heat and lots more sleeping at the chart table!

“In the meantime, the crew wish to say a big hola to all our supporters.”

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