ZULU-GIRL HOPES TO BRAVE THE WATERS IN VOLVO OCEAN RACE 2017/18

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Lungi Mchunu in training at the Gulf of Morbihan, France

Lungi Mchunu may be the only South African on-board one of the boats in the world’s longest professional sporting event and leading offshore sailing competition, which starts in Alicante, Spain in October 2017, as she hopes to be appointed as an On-Board Reporter (OBR) for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18.

 

Sport has always been a passion for the energetic 30-year-old, who describes herself as a humble Zulu girl.  Lungi played basketball as a teenager, and following an injury, turned to coaching and mentorship in the sport, which she continues to do today.  Lungi is no stranger to the media world either, as she founded and managed a basketball magazine called B-Ball Mag SA.  She attended games around the world and reported on them, wrote profiles on players, found advertisers and sponsors for her magazine and development events – all while still maintaining a suit-and-tie 9-to-5 job during the week.  Lungi is an avid photographer, often had her eye behind the lens capturing every lay-up, three-point shot, and mid-court break from court-side.

 

All of this experience would culminate in nine months at sea, after Lungi did the unimaginable – and applied to join the crew of the Volvo Ocean Race.  “I’ve always loved the sea but I was afraid of open waters, so for me to even apply for this role was an achievement,” said Lungi.  “Everyone who knows me will tell you that I’ve always tried to live my dreams by refusing to be crippled by fear; and knowing that this scared me, I applied anyway,” she said.

 

Sailing is the only sport that has a dedicated multimedia journalist embedded in the team of athletes, right in the middle of the action. In what could only be described as one of the world’s toughest media jobs, the role of an OBR would be to provide creative content from the boat, around the clock, and provide real life on-board experiences for the millions of followers of the race. She would be required to shoot video footage, capture still photographs, write, edit and transmit content to Race Control, daily, with the occasional live satellite calls.  In a nutshell, Lungi would be the eyes and ears of Race Control on the boat, and her responsibility would be to capture the excitement, anxieties, raw emotions, and crew dynamics in their entirety.

 

As part of the crew, Lungi would cross four oceans – the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian and Southern Oceans in a race that is split into nine legs. Each leg will start and finish in leading cities around the world, known as Host Ports. Cape Town is the 3rd Host Port, and is listed as one of the race’s favourite ports, and Lungi would be glad to see home ground continuing with the remaining six legs of the race.

 

With a little over 300 days before the race begins, preparation and readiness is already underway.  “In order for my application to be accepted, I would need to demonstrate that I would be able to tell the story of the sailors as authentically as possible, and I felt that I wouldn’t be able to share the journey if I had not walked (sailed) a mile in the sailors’ shoes,” she said.  This required that she learn how to sail.   In addition to adding advance swimming to her already hectic training regimen, Lungi applied to sailing school . . . in France!  In November 2016, Lungi learnt how to sail on the choppy waters off the west coast of France, and loved every minute of it.  “My instructor gave me the wheel after 20 minutes into the sea! I was nervous but excited. It was so cold and I was shivering with four layers of clothes on, but I took it like a soldier,” she said.

The following days were made up of breakfast at 5:00am and they would set sail at 6:00am; anchorage for lunch and every night was spent at the nearest port. “After two days, the ocean was my home. I had a sense of belonging and felt great. I expected to get sea-sick due to the motion of the boat, but I didn’t suffer at all,” she said.  The experience was not without thrills, as the waves were big, and the vessel was often on its side. The temperate of the water was icy cold, which served as great acclimatisation for Lungi, as sailing during the European winter is no joke, especially as South Africa enjoys warmer winters and warmer waters.

Lungi clearly took to sailing like a duck takes to water and impressed her French instructor, who agreed to host her again during the European summer, where she can work towards a Skipper License. Lungi’s focus for the next two months is to spend as much time on the coast as possible, and sail as often as she can.

When asked why she chose this as the next adventure of her life (because there have been many), she replied, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid? I would sail, and I have!”

Follow Lungi’s sailing adventure on Instagram @lungisails Twitter : @Blk_Rose

The day I met Greg Maud – The Adventurer #TheJourneyOfAThousandMiles #OBR @adidasza #3StripeAdventures

Since deciding to apply for the Volvo Ocean Race #OBR post, my heart has skipped a number of beats throughout the pre-training training, actually it’s a norm now. It’s like I’m on a mission to blow my mind every single day, I am absolutely loving the journey, getting to know the other side of LM.

October 13th at 14:15pm, I met one of the most awesome beings on earth  Greg Maud. The best way to describe the intensity of my emotions is : you know the adrenaline rush ahead and during skydiving…that super super high, can’t feeling nothing high or rather that feeling you get when you arch out of the plane.img_2921

For the most part, meeting Greg made me feel at ease knowing that I am not the only “crazy one”. There are many like-minded people out there!

I was so star-struck, I couldn’t remember what I wanted to ask him. What hit home for was how he was more interested in my endeavours for #OBR then talking about The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Solo Row. When a person of his caliber is more interested in talking about little old me than talking about the titles he holds.

For the first time, I felt my weirdness was actually pretty cool.

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I told him about my pre-training plans and routines since submitting my application and funny enough, he also went through similar training for the Atlantic Challenge.

The journey continues … #LungiLearnsToSail 🙂

Thank you Greg 🙂

 

Photos by @volvooceanrace

The Journey of A Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step #OBR #FBF Sept 19th

 

I opened a link from GlobalSportsJobs and the next page that opened read:

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“#ifyoudiedtomorrow …could you say?”  my heart skipped a beat, I scrolled down as per the prompt and the third insert read:

“If your number was up, and you were looking back at your life, would you have regrets?”

Before landing on the www.volvooceanrace website, I had no regrets. I was content, living the best life possible and pushing myself to new heights with every project. I had taken my first step after reading three inserts on the OBR page, the decision was made. This was it for me!

Making the decision was easy, the next hurdle was “how am I going to provide the requirements (video, photos & edit) .Before landing on the Volvo Ocean Race website, all my equipment and gadgets were stolen, they took everything and left a tripod and a shotgun microphone.

I had a dream with no means of realizing it, I spoke to a couple of industry colleagues from South Africa and they agreed to lend me a camera and a laptop. I made sure I had plan A and B just in case.

On the day of the shoot, plan didn’t materialize as they had a LIVE broadcast so they needed the cameras. At this point I was almost in tears but I took it like a soldier and moved on. Within hours, I opted for plan B which offered me just a DSLR body with no lenses.

As luck would have it, plan B did not materialize. I wasn’t as disappointed after plan B failed, I was more determined than ever. All I could think and dream of was capturing footage on the race, nothing else mattered.

Though I was down and out, I figured the next option was to use everything I have to record the video. I took my smartphone and my Rode mic and I was off to record the clip.

On the morning of submission, I questioned whether I should submit or not due to the poor quality of my content. I watched it a couple of times and though I spoke from the heart, it still wasn’t enough for the role I am pursuing.

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