Five Volvo Ocean Race teams are girding themselves for the longest leg in the history of the race – a 12,300 nautical mile marathon to from Qingdao, China to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The leg starts at 1300 local time (0500 GMT) from a start line positioned just off the Olympic breakwater in Qingdao and will take the fleet into the depths of the iconic Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn before the teams find the relief of the finish line in the tropical conditions of Rio de Janeiro.
Four of the race teams have been in Qingdao for nearly three weeks and, after making various repairs, they competed in the in-port race on Monday. They’ve since spent their time this week making final adjustments and tune-ups, as well as provisioning for the long stretch ahead.
The fifth team, Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE), is currently racing towards Qingdao, hoping to finish leg four in the early hours of Saturday morning before joining the start for leg five to Rio.
The 12,300 nm course includes two scoring gates (at latitude 37’00.000S and Cape Horn), and two ice gates to keep the fleet to the north and safe from a drifting iceberg that has now broken up, spewing lethal bergy bits and growlers across the ocean. The Islands of New Zealand (East Cape) is also a mark of the course, which the fleet must leave to starboard. The leg is expected to take around 34 days to complete.
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 49 points
2. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 42 points
3. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 41 points
4. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 30 points
5. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 24 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP): 21 points
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 12 points
8. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points