Tools Down, Tools Up

Sailing World - - Starting Line -

A somber roar too loud for com­fort burst through the ad­justable slats in the side of our me­dia con­tainer. The team’s head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Hamish Hooper, and I were strate­giz­ing how best to tell the story we had just cap­tured. It was mid­day, and the en­tire team had al­ready ral­lied to swap wings after the race wing sus­tained pre-race dam­age, de­liv­er­ing the boat back to the course in less than an hour and just in time for the first race of the day (which they won). We hadn’t yet moved to the TV out­side our con­tainer to watch the race along­side the rest of the shore team, but in­stantly upon hear­ing the roar, Hooper wheeled to the wall to in­ves­ti­gate. Open­ing a slat, he peered through, closed it, wheeled back and said, “We just pitch­poled.”

And that was it. We both went head down and straight to work. It’s the Kiwi way; they sim­ply strive in ad­ver­sity.

When the boat was fi­nally back in the tent, a “tools down” all- team meet­ing was called, and we lis­tened to team Chief Oper­at­ing Of­fi­cer Kevin Shoe­bridge out­line what had to be done. With two races sched­uled for the next day and a ques­tion­able fore­cast, the en­tire cam­paign was on the line. Right there, out­side the team kitchen, ev­ery­body came to­gether, well-aware of the sig­nif­i­cance of their roles, no mat­ter how big or small. For a small group that had en­dured plenty of ob­sta­cles al­ready, there was a sense of calm and a can-do at­ti­tude.

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