- Report and photograph with
thanks to BG SPIRIT
- THE festive spirit is starting to take hold as Tony Summers from Liverpool and the BG SPIRIT Crew prepare to spend a very unique Christmas in the middle of the Southern Ocean. Currently lying in third position, BG SPIRIT is further from land than a rocket in orbit above the earth, about as far away from anywhere as it is possible to be. Whilst most of us have been doing our Christmas shopping, the crew on board BG SPIRIT has spent the run up to Christmas putting up decorations and listening to festive music, whilst navigating the treacherous seas of the Southern Ocean.
On Christmas day, friends and family will enjoy roast turkey and open presents by the fire, whilst the BG SPIRIT Crew will eat freeze-dried food with 'extras' and Christmas pudding smuggled onto the boat, all the way from Harrods! BG SPIRIT Skipper, Andy Forbes and Navigator, Hamish Oliphant, will take a break from their role to do the Mother watch cooking and cleaning, whilst the dedicated Entertainment Committee plan fun frivolities for the day. Christmas carols will be sung and 'secret Santa' Christmas presents will be dished out from fellow crew members.
On 20 December, a live telephone link-up to BG SPIRIT was staged at BG Group's annual Christmas party held at BG Group's Headquarters in Thames Valley Park (TVP), Reading. Many of the friends and family of the crew travelled to TVP to join in the Christmas celebrations, which allowed Chief Executive, Frank Chapman, to talk to the BG SPIRIT Crew. Speaking first to Skipper Andy Forbes, Frank remarked how all at TVP were enjoying the Christmas festivities with wine and canapés, while the BG SPIRIT crew reflected upon the freeze-dried and vacuum-packed fare that would be available to them over Christmas. When asked what the spirit on board was like, the response was a resounding cheer from the 18 strong BG SPIRIT crew. This was reciprocated by a loud cheer from the throngs of BG SPIRIT supporters at TVP.
Speaking to BG Group Leggers, Mark Benians and Mark Setrem, Frank discussed conditions on board the yacht in what is one of the coldest chapters of the amazing round-the-world race. Both commented upon the high spirits of the crew. Asked whether the leg had lived up to expectations, Mark Benians
said:- "it's a huge challenge, both physically and mentally, but a really great experience and one not to be
missed. I must say it feels a bit strange talking to people enjoying a pre-Christmas early evening drink when I have only been up for a couple of hours and I have just finished cleaning the heads (loos)!"
A final conversation was held with Kiwi Ben Gough who will get married in Wanaka, New Zealand, during the Wellington stopover. Core crew member Ben drew strength from the challenges he has experienced thus far aboard BG SPIRIT, as he described marriage as undoubtedly the biggest challenge in life he will ever face!
All on board the yacht have now had a chocolate from the BG SPIRIT advent calendar and all are keenly looking forward to the Wellington reunion, where they are due to arrive between 3 and 9 January 2005.
- Note from
editor:- From all of us at Southport Reporter to BG SPIRIT,
good luck and have a fantastic Christmas!