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Better be lucky and good

Published on January 4th, 2015

Abu Dhabi, UAE (January 4, 2015; Day 2) – It has been a slow start to the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, but the fleet is out of the Persian Gulf and is now skirting the exclusion zone off the Iranian coast. The first night was anything but restful, as Amory Ross on Team Alvimedica reports.

“It has been an eventful beginning to Leg 3, the first 20 hours full of jibes, crosses ahead, crosses behind, rain, obstacles, and restacking. It has had everything but sleep, actually. We talked on shore about the importance of rest during the last few days in Abu Dhabi because we knew it would be a demanding start, and here we are, probably wishing we had gotten more.”

The route takes the fleet via the Arabian Sea, past the southernmost point of India and through the Bay of Bengal. The teams must then find their way through the Strait of Malacca, which connects the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. This narrow passageway is known as one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. After passing the busy Singapore Strait, the fleet will set sail to Sanya.

“This will be one of the toughest legs of this race,” says Team Brunel navigator Andrew Cape. “Once on the Indian Ocean we’ll be encountering narrow waterways, small islands, pirates, debris, floating containers and enormous ocean-going vessels, but also fishing nets and many fishing boats with neither lighting or communication equipment.”

“An important problem is that this section of the Indian Ocean has never been properly charted. Another area of attention is that the seabed is unstable here. The depth shown on the maps need not necessarily make sense, therefore. In order to avoid sailing into any of these obstacles, we use our radar a great deal, along with the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and of course the watchful eyes of the crew.”

The winner of this leg will need to be lucky and good.

Leg 3 Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 4394.0 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 6.3 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 6.5 nm DTL
4. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 6.9 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 7.3 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 7.7 DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start

Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on Oct. 11 with the final finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, seven teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs to determine the overall Volvo Ocean Race winner. Additionally, the teams will compete in 10 In-Port races at each stopover for a separate competition – the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series. The third offshore leg from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China is 4,642 nm, started Jan. 3 with the ETA on or after Jan. 19.

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