SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
Volvo Ocean Race Fleet Encounters Multitude Of Dangers in the Malacca Strait
The race officially entered the 500-mile long (800km) Malacca Strait on Friday as Team Telefónica rounded Pulau We island narrowly ahead of the trailing fleet. With Telefónica, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and Groupama sailing team just 300 metres apart at times over the weekend as they headed south, the three lead boats were keeping a close eye on one another.
But as much as the teams focused on match racing each other, the race leaders and three other boats in the race – CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Sanya – were equally focused on the unique challenges posed by the Malacca Strait.
This stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra is the major shipping channel between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and carries an estimated 25% of the world's traded goods.
Two days into the Strait, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet has already had to contend with massive commercial ships, unlit fishing vessels, underwater fishing nets and general ocean debris. The teams are on constant watch with team navigators even asking commercial ships to alter course on occasion.
The Strait is also notorious for unpredictable weather with shifting winds and powerful currents common in the area. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand dropped anchor at one point, due to lack of wind and strong currents.
As the race heads south towards Singapore in the coming days, the racing boats will have to further contend with the congested Phillips Channel, which narrows to a width of just 1.5 miles (2.8km) before the fleet head north across the South China Sea for the Leg 3 finish into Sanya, China.