SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
Massive Waves Take Toll on Fleet in Southern Ocean During Leg 5
Massive 10-meter waves and powerful winds as high as 40 and 50 knots in the Southern Ocean have wreaked havoc on the fleet, breaking one team's rudder, causing de-lamination to hulls and structural damage to several boats.
Four boats in the fleet of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 have had to initiate repairs on their boats out at sea. One of them, Chinese-entry Team Sanya, has already returned to New Zealand, where the boat is being shipped to the United States with plans to restart the race from Miami for Leg 7 in May.
Overall race leaders Team Telefónica, currently in third position, announced that they will need to make a pit-stop in Ushaia, Argentina, for repairs before continuing on to Itajaí, Brazil.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, currently third in the overall standings, have slowed their boat speed and are headed for Chile, where they will stop in Puerto Montt to fix structural damage.
Fifth-place Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing was forced to carry out considerable repairs out at sea on Friday due to hull delamination and are currently assessing their options.
Meanwhile, current Leg 5 leaders Groupama sailing team and PUMA Ocean Racing powered by Berg are steadily making their way towards Cape Horn – the only two teams yet to suffer serious damage on this 6,700 nautical mile leg from Auckland to Itajaí.
Boats have been blasted by big swells and sailors swept across the decks in some of the most difficult conditions faced so far in this 11th edition of the race.
Leg 5 was expected to take around 18 days to complete with teams scheduled to arrive April 4 into Brazil. The new arrival date for the top two, Groupama and PUMA, is estimated for April 6.