The Volvo Ocean Race: it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. Since 1973, sailors have sacrificed family, friends and momentous occasions in the hunt for the trophy – and this edition is no different.
Turn the Tide on Plastic’s navigator Nico Lunven couldn’t be there as his wife gave birth to their second daughter on Saturday, but when he found out the news over the satellite phone, his crewmates marked the occasion as best as they could – with celebratory chocolate mousse!
“I’m a father for the second time, a small girl, my second daughter, just two hours ago!” he revealed to Liz Wardley and Henry Bomby in the galley. “I’m very happy!”
A huge cheer goes up on deck as he stuck his head out of the hatch to let his team know that his daughter Katell had been born and that mum and baby were both healthy.
“I’m super happy for him,” said Henry Bomby. “I know Nico well from my days in the Figaro. It’s hard for him to come and do this race at a time like this, but it’s a special moment for them.”
So what do you do when you’ve just become a father in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? Well, first up, you choose a name – with a little help from your crew mates.
“I’m looking for a middle name for my daughter,” Nico explains, scrolling the nav software, with Henry throwing in suggestions.
“With my wife, we decided to give her a middle name of a place we’re close to now with the boat. It’s going to be quite easy as we’re close to the Cape Verde islands, so I’m looking at the charts.”
Well, Doldrums* does have a certain ring to it.
Then, an alert. Email received! Nico anxiously clicks through the inbox for a glimpse of his new baby daughter – and his expression when the photo opens up says it all.
“It’s even better than a good sched!” he jokes to Dee, beaming, before heading back up on deck. Back to work, the racing never stops – especially when you’re a navigator in this part of the ocean.
“When Brian Thompson broke his leg, the role of being a Turn the Tide on Plastic’s navigator needed to be shared,” says skipper Dee Caffari.
“Nico stepped up in the Prologue, and part of his big decision on whether he wanted to be involved was based around the fact that his wife was due to give birth on Leg 2, so it’s his wife I have to thank for allowing him to be at sea while she has given birth to their second child – so thank you!”
*Nico does not plan to name his baby Doldrums. Or Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, for that matter.