Sailing into Abu Dhabi this week are six boats participating in the Volvo Ocean Race, a round-the-world race through some of roughest seas. The challenge will have nine stopover destinations and a total length of 38,739 nautical miles. Abu Dhabi will be the third leg of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR).
The competition began in Alicante, a city and port in Spain on the Costa Blanca, on October 4 and will finish on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo, with an in-port race. Seven navigators were at the start; unfortunately, Team Vestas Wind had to suspend racing as it experienced a collision with an Indian Ocean reef that grounded their boat. The race organizers had to recover the Volvo Ocean 65 in the Indian Ocean where the Danish team boat and crew were found in the remote Mauritius archipelago of St. Brandon. The nine members were picked up by a coastguard rib and taken to the nearby Íle du Sud where they awaited transportation back to Mauritius.The National Coast Guard of the Maritime Rescue Co-operation Centre (MRCC) of Mauritius confirmed that all members of the crew were uninjured in the collision.
Team Alvimedica came out victorious in Leg 1 to Cape Town, but now sees itself siting in fourth position as of today’s official tracking report. The boat crew might be losing ground due to weather conditions and to the succesfull moves and counter-moves that other boats like Dongfeng Race Team are performing. Dongfeng was actually voted the top performing boat crew for its navigation abilities and overcoming technique.
Leg 2 Cape Town to Abu Dhabi has brought some exciting sailing; the teams are making their way to the Persian Gulf into Abu Dhabi and should arrive any time now (December 11-15).Will Skipper Ian Walker of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team arrive first in Abu Dhabi? It will take his navigator, Simon Fisher to make some bold moves to overtake Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel from third position. It all comes down to which boat will be able to find the ideal wind direction to sail at greater speed, and employ clever tactical nautical responses to the situation. Anything can happen, as seen by Team Vestas Wind sailing into the reef. All it takes is one navigation error to be out of race or fall way behind the others in the fleet.
Time will tell which boat will be leading the fleet both overall and on the water after Leg 2 (on a journey that had the boats travelling for around 3 weeks and 6,125 miles).
The VOR stopover in Abu Dhabi will be from December 12, 2014 to January 3, 2015. This is sure to give a year-end boost to the emirate’s tourism industry. It is an opportunity for the public to get up-close-and-personal with the VOR ‘Heroes of the Seas.’
Meanwhile, over the coming weeks, there is to be a fantastic festival held at the Destination Village, located on the Corniche Breakwater, which will open to the public tomorrow (Friday, December 12). The waterfront village will be the hub of three weeks of sports, entertainment, as seen on the public schedule available at volvooceanrace.com.
As for Leg 3Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China, it will start on January 3, 2015, a day after the in-port race. This will be the third time the race will visit theSouth China Sea. It will be a short voyage of 4,670 miles, but it will take the fleet on a tough route from the UAE. Sailing fans from around the world are sure to enjoy the rest of the remaining stages of the 2014-2015 VOR to see what boats will overcome the challenges and finish the race.