Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Volvo & Vendee on TV

As suffering from Vendee withdrawl symptoms was pleased to learn from Yachting World that it was going to be on TV over the weekend - though at the rather weekend lie-in hostile hour of 7.30 am. So muttering something about Channel 4 executives bad scheduling when it comes to sailing, decided it was one for the PVR to record ready for when fully awake coffee mug in hand.

Alas the PVR decided to die: gracefully it must be admitted, but when there is 39V on the line that should have just 13V it was brave but most definitely beaten.

No matter thinks I, there is always C4 + 1, the TV channel to catch the first half of programs where enjoyed the last half - or in this case, for those getting up just after 8.

Alas, again, it was not good news as the TV reported "no signal" on not just C4+1, but C4, and indeed every single channel. Apparently the antenna on the roof of the block of appartments was in morning for the PVR or something and refusing to work on even numbered floors (no, don't understand that at all either).

So thinks I, this is the 21st Century, we have 4OD - standing for 4 "on-demand", a web site for those with broadband and a Channel 4 program missed.

Alas, a word that is becoming over used but still - er - alas - is appropriate, there were many programs to download from Desperate Housewives to Dispatches: Unseen Gaza, but no, the Vendee Globe is "currently not available".

But as a consolation prize there was a catch-up of the Volvo Ocean race programs. Now if you think the Vendee Globe slot was bad at 7.30 am on a Saturday morning have a feeling for the Volvo which has got the graveyard 01:45 - 02:40 am slot, even earlier than the Vendee.

Nope, even the C4+1 times of 02:45 - 03:40 that don't sound that good. What is it about TV schedulers and their dislike of sailing?

But the Volvo program was available on download so spent an hour with some VO70s racing from the doldrums to Cape Town and then up into the Indian Ocean. And rather a fun 48 minutes it was too.

Ok, I've been a bit disappointed by following the Volvo, but as a TV show it has certain wow! factor. Those boats are pretty impressive when fully loaded going pedal to the metal and maybe thats what they are all about.

They can give some perzang! to any corporate video, showing leading edge sailing, teamwork, high tech, healthy outdoor competition, and a nice warm buzz of seeing your company's logo on a spinnaker on a boat surfing at 30+ knots across sun lit waves. Followed by some spectacular wipe-outs, shredded sails, broken booms etc.

Woh! Yea-ha! (or something)

And of course the port on starboard miss by millimetres near collision shot:

Having enjoyed that and started the download of the next episode, went over to the VOR web site, and... nope, didn't feel the same.

Five boats, in a clump, just going along, it was like..... slow. Those long offshore legs you really need to have strong characters to keep the interest up, as the Vendee does (or rather did).

So maybe the Volvo has got some strong points, and TV is a good way of getting across the power and exhilaration of the VO70 class. Its a bit like the Top Gear of sailing, you know its not PC, but actually its very watchable.

Of course I have yet to see the Vendee Globe on TV. Now the PVR has been returned from repair and the TV is reporting signal again just have to wait till Saturday morning to compare the two.

I'll be there, coffee mug in hand - unless something else goes wrong......

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