• 15-MAR-2012

  • SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race

Feared Southern Ocean to Push Fleet to the Limit

The Southern Ocean is a source of fear and inspiration to competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race, who know all too well the dangers involved in sailing there yet still long to test themselves in the toughest conditions on Earth.

Leg 5, starting on Sunday at 0100 UTC, will see man and boat pushed to the limit – and sometimes beyond – as the crews face mountainous seas and howling winds racing from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil.

"It's a fearsome place and deserves a great deal of respect," said Team Telefónica watch captain Neal McDonald.

"Climbing Everest is not particularly risk free or glamorous but people want to do it for the challenge and it's the same with the Southern Ocean."

The fleet will be further from civilisation than ever before, sailing through the notorious Roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties where the winds consistently blow above 40 knots and conditions are more than capable of breaking boats.

It's also a return to the 'traditional' route made famous by the Whitbread Round the World Race.

"It's pushing it to the extreme, and the sailing is unbelievable," said two-time race veteran Rob Salthouse, helmsman with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand.

"It's a return to the spirit of adventure that the Whitbread was all about."

During the 6,700 nautical mile Leg 5, the skippers will face waves more than 12 metres high and winds of up to 60 knots.

They will also pass Point Nemo, the most remote spot in the world, more than 2,000 nautical miles from land in every direction.


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