Monday, January 30, 2012

Mayhem In Malacca For Volvo Fleet - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Strait of Malacca – One week after the restart of Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 in Male, Maldives, the race’s six-boat fleet has made its way south through the Malacca Strait, while confronting a multitude of natural and man-made dangers along this particular stretch of waterway.
Photo: Yann Roui/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
The race officially entered the 500-mile long (800km) Strait of Malacca 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 – 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, carrying roughly 25% of the world’s traded goods.

Three days into the Strait, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet has contended 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 over the weekend, due to lack of wind and strong currents.

As the race heads south towards Singapore Island on Monday, 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 for their final push across the South China Sea and the Leg 3 finish into Sanya, China.

Team Telefónica currently lead the overall standings with 71 points to CAMPER’s 64. Groupama is in third place with 51 points. The race made a stop in Singapore during the 2008-09 edition.

Volvo Ocean Race Media

No comments: