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Irish Sailing Hero - Volvo Ocean Race OBR Brain Carlin

Irish Sailing Hero - Volvo Ocean Race OBR Brain Carlin


Kerry Man Brian Carlin Brings Volvo Ocean Race to Our Screens

Have you noticed the coverage of the Volvo Ocean Race is truly incredible? The Onboard Reporters (OBRs) are bringing us a real taste of what it is like out there on the open ocean and Kerry man Brian Carlin is the OBR Team Leader bringing it all together.

Here is a little insight in to Brian’s world …

  1. What is your official title with the Volvo Ocean Race?
    • Onboard Reporter Team Leader
  2. What does that mean? What do you do?
    • I’m responsible for the recruiting and training of this years Onboard Reporters who sail onboard the V65 yachts.
      The role varies from logistics, training, certification (Sea Survival, Medical etc), working with OBR’s and teams to find the best fit for each team and choosing who sails on what boat each leg as we now rotate OBR’s to keep the story fresh whilst allowing OBR’s to take a leg off to recuperate. I’m also responsible for the supply of camera equipment, I also liaise with all the skippers and team PRO’s to help with guidance on the role of the OBR and the teams individual sponsor requirements, arranging live calls and while back in Alicante HQ I’m there to support the OBR’s at sea from technical issues to personal ones, in a nut shell I manage the group of 9 OBR’s from Alicante while at sea and travel to each stop-over to help debrief at the end of each leg. In addition I work with the VOR TV team as a camera man for News and Live TV shows like Leg Start. (Its a bit full on sometimes
  3. How did you get to this stage in your career ?
    • I’d like to say luck but that’s lies, its when opportunity meets preparation. I studied Architecture in college, worked for 6 years but decided I’d like to be a sailing photographer. The process wasn’t easy and truth be told I wasn’t very good at it to being with, I struggled a lot but my determination was stronger than my desire to just give up – I’d actually say I was really stubborn and ignored the advice of many who told me I’d never make it in this business. Well when someone tells you you can’t or wont be able to do something you try to prove them right, so after 6 years working every opportunity and pushing myself as an individual and sacrificing a considerable amount of my personal life, I’m here today doing what I’ve work so hard to build.
  4. What type of path did you follow to develop your sailing skills? Training, Racing, Crewing, College ….?
    • I started sailing at the age of 8, my mom thought we needed some stimulation and despite growing up in Kerry football was not my thing. So its the path my parents decided at an age where I didn’t know where the possibilities lay led me to taking a huge interest in sailing. I spend many summers in Tralee Bay Sailing Club doing all the Dinghy level courses and eventually went on to be a sailing instructor – Naturally while working in the industry it led to sailing competitively at national and international level. I’ve done a couple of World Championships and National championships, not always getting the best results but while the results didn’t reflect any medal wins it did build my entire life’s worth of friendships – friendships that still exist today and that turned into a network of connections in the sailing community when I decided I’d leave Architecture for Sailing Communications. Its funny but if I never started sailing as a child I would have led a very different life, so my parents are hugely responsible for where I am today, of course they just laid the solid foundations the rest was up to me.
  5. What type of sailing do enjoy the most now? Do you race and cruise?
    • I love match racing, its tactical and its always fast course sailing. However having sailed around the world 1.5 times I’m mad keen on just doing delivery trips offshore or in general offshore racing – I like time at sea and the challenges its brings to both you as an individual and the team making them work together to achieve a mutual goal, but winning isn’t always the goal, participation and completing offshore races can be enough.
  6. How does sailing / supporting sailing make you feel?
    • I think sailing can change the direct of anyone’s life but fundamentally the best feeling you get out sailing – NO Facebook, no social media at all and its the freedom and the feeling of having one task to concentrate your mind, if you haven’t tried it – do it, if nothing else it gives your brain a rest from the onslaught of social media
  7. Do you have a message you would like to give to the young sailors of Ireland?
    • All I can say its that dreams are there to be chased – if you want something bad enough, especially if you think you just can’t, then there lies the challenge, believe in yourself and don’t listen to anybody’s who’s negative – its your life, live it the way you want and don’t be afraid of chasing a dream and discovering another one along the way – life happens, its an ever moving target, always adjust your sails to suit and you’ll end up in some of the most unexpected dreams you never thought would happen, as my friend Paul Adamson say’s “One Life, Live It”.


Brian Carlin
OBR Leader

“One Life, Live It”

Go here for more on the tough job of OBR and meat the team.

If you want to enjoy some incredible photography – make a cuppa, get comfy and scroll through this page here.

Header photograph credit to Brian Carlin – has to be the best ever selfie (is that Barney the Dinosaur I see?)