Putting together a campaign like the Golden Globe Race is an enormous amount of work and quite literally, too much for one person. And if that one person is also the skipper, he’s either going to miss out some very vital details or be so completely stressed out by the time that the start comes along that he will be functioning way below optimal level and will in all likelihood be sleep deprived and exhausted before even setting sail. With that comes inevitable errors in judgement, poor strategic choices and in the worst case scenario, potentially serious or even fatal accidents.
The well funded campaigns will hire experts in every field, having all the many and diverse skills the campaign needs. The salary bills can run to hundreds of thousands of Rands. As a (currently) completely self funded entrant, I do not have the luxury of this option. But I do have friends with incredible skills and talents who have donated these in boat loads to my campaign.
Meet the Team who make my entry into this race possible:
Team Manager: Frans Loots
Frans and I have known each other since 1980 when I was a timid young first year law student at the (then) University of Port Elizabeth and he was in his third year. We subsequently sailed together for many years in Algoa Bay and ended up doing two South Atlantic crossings and a race from Cape Town to St Helena together. We ended up working for the same company albeit in different towns and have become close friends over the last 41 years. Frans was with me when we decided to participate in one of Skip Novak’s Tierra del Fuego charters in 2007 and looking back on that experience, I realize it was probably the start of a chain of decisions that culminated in the entry into the Golden Globe Race.
Frans is an incredibly experienced and talented sailor in his own right with numerous South and North Atlantic crossings to his name. One of his South Atlantic crossings in 1982 was singlehanded in a Petersen 33 using only sextant to navigate, and with no self steering device. He is also a talented boat builder with one of his most recent projects being the building of a Farrier 9A-X in his garage at home! We raced this boat to St Helena island as a double-handed team and set the elapsed time record for the course from Simon’s Town to Jamestown.
Frans is the voice of calm and reason in my campaign. He has a knack of breaking problems down to their core issues and simplifying them until they are a series of small and easily solved issues. He is unflappable and has the ability to detect BS at a good distance! I am incredibly grateful to have him managing me and I often think how lucky I am to have him on my side rather than as a competing entrant!
Media Manager: Nichelle Swanepoel
Who better to help me keep focus on the extensive media demands of the Golden Globe Race than an industry professional who just happens to be a yachtie herself? I met Nichelle when her and her husband Christo bought themselves a Tosca 36 cruising boat in Simon’s Town in 2017. I watched with envy as they prepared to go cruising and as they absorbed the skills and tools necessary for cruising. Covid came out of left field and derailed their immediate plans to go cruising. This, I hate to say, has worked perfectly for me in that Nichelle has more shore based time to nudge me into action to adhere to the stringent media requirements that I’ve signed up for. With a background in business communication, design and marketing in a range of industries with some budding video editing skills, she is the ideal person to handle this demanding facet of the campaign. Whether she will be handling media from their own sailboat as an office, or a land based tiny-home, she will put the pictures to the story.
Next week, a look at those very important people behind the scenes…..