19 November 2014: Volvo Ocean Race sailors set out again for the open seas today with no sign of pirates but the threat of cyclones on Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi.
On this 6,125 nautical mile stage the seven-strong fleet will be sailing into the south Indian Ocean past Mauritius, where the cyclone season has just started and a tropical storm is forecast just ahead of them.
But unlike in the 2011-12 edition, the race boats will not need to be shipped part of the leg for security reasons. The race’s offshore security experts have given the all-clear to plot a route all the way through.
Whatever challenges await them before they make it to Abu Dhabi in mid-December, the crews know they can rely on Inmarsat, as Satellite Communications Race Partner, to keep them updated with real-time weather information and provide them with a communications lifeline in an emergency.
Each of the Volvo 65 boats is fitted with FleetBroadband 500 and FleetBroadband 250 for high-speed, reliable voice and data communications, plus Inmarsat C – the only Global Maritime Distress and Safety System-approved safety service – and an IsatPhone 2 handheld satellite phone in the liferaft pack.
This allows Race HQ to track the fleet and respond quickly in the event of one of the boats stopping or changing course unexpectedly.
The satcoms kit also enables each team’s Onboard Reporter (OBR) to stream video footage of all the action for the race’s millions of fans worldwide to enjoy.
As the crews prepare for today’s 16:00 UTC start, the team to beat is undoubtedly Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Ian Walker, who followed up their Leg 1 triumph over Dongfeng Race Team by a mere 12 minutes with victory in the Cape Town in-port race.
Volvo Ocean Race: www.inmarsat.com/vor