Photography: Richard Dawson
Fashion: Jessica Punter
Words: Josh Woodfin

A life spent at sea will do one of two things. It’ll either turn you into an unhinged obsessive like the monomaniacal Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, or it’ll leave you looking like a cross between Indiana Jones and that really pleasant rugby player who got all the girls at uni. Lashed by the icy winds and salt water of the southern oceans, the Puma Ocean Racing Team have the kind of weathered ruggedness that us land lubbers can only dream of as we try to cover up the damage done by a life spent in the Ship Inn…

 

Sidney Gavignet

Watch Captain

“You see strange things when you’re out at sea like beach balls floating past. I’ve seen the green flash once as well. It happens when the sun dips below the horizon and the light’s just right – you get a bright green flash. You hear about them, but you don’t expect to see it.”

 

Shannon Falcone

Grinder/Pitman

“I’m not superstitious like most sailors. My dad’s Italian so I should be, but I’ve got no problems. There’s a lot of it about. The Kiwis hate having bananas on a boat, for instance.”

 

Nick Dana

Nipper

“You never relax, even if you’re not on watch. You get four hours rest and you’ll sleep for maybe three of that. Sometimes when you’re below deck it’s like being thrown around in a drum, the best you can do is throw some headphones on and try and get some shuteye.”

 

Sidney Gavignet

Watch Captain

“We’re warned about pirates. There are areas off the coast of China and Africa that are quite bad. We get ‘pirate packs’ that contain about 200 Marlboro reds and $400 and we chuck them in the sea in the hope that it will distract them. We don’t have much on board and they’d have to kill ten people to get to the equipment.”

 

Ken Read

Skipper

“The worst is when you’re racing down the face of a giant wave and there’s nowhere to go. You’re surfing towards a tunnel of water and you just plough into the next wave. That’s when it’s dangerous, a wall of green water running across the boat. It’s like someone’s taken a fire hose and pointed it at your legs and body. You can’t hold on.”

 

Michi Mueller

Bowman

“Sailing across the Luzon Straits between the Philippines and Taiwan during leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2008-09 was pretty rough. That said, the most dangerous place to sail in the world is the Southern Ocean, because you are so, so far from land and the possibility of any assistance should you need it.”

PUMA Sailing

PUMA Sailing Performance Wear

pumaoceanracing.co.uk