18 March 2015: The six-strong Volvo Ocean Race fleet has finally set off from Auckland, New Zealand on the 6,776 nm journey to Itajaí, Brazil – and into the notoriously extreme conditions of the Southern Ocean.
Leg 5 of the race was postponed by three days due to the threat of Cyclone Pam, a tropical storm that had already ripped through Vanuatu and was heading towards New Zealand.
The Leg, which rounds the iconic landmark of Cape Horn, is seen as the toughest but also the most compelling one for sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race, and is one of the major reasons why many are competing.
Dongfeng Race Team led the fleet out of the ‘City of Sails’ but the all-women Team SCA crew had plenty to celebrate, having won the in-port race on 14 March, having taken the lead from the start line.
Team SCA becomes the first crew to win two in-port races – they came first in Abu Dhabi, UAE earlier in the year. Team Brunel took second place and MAPFRE came in third.
The overall scoreboard now places Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Dongfeng Race Team in joint first place. In the event of a tie at the end of the competition, the in-port race results will be taken into account, and with a lower score, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is currently in the lead.
The journey to Itajaí is expected to take around three weeks and marks the half-way point in the nine month long, 38,739nm adventure. From here crews will have a break before setting sail on Leg 6 of the race to Newport, USA.
Throughout, the boats will be relying on Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity not only for race logistics but also for our award-winning safety services, which are the mainstay of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
As official Satellite Communications Race Partner, each Volvo Ocean 65 boat is kitted out with our flagship maritime services – FleetBroadband 500, FleetBroadband 250 and Inmarsat C safety terminals. In addition, an IsatPhone 2 satellite phone is stowed in the boat’s life-raft packs.
The teams’ Onboard Reporters will be posting live updates on social media channels and sharing blogs and video footage of all the excitement to a worldwide audience of race fans. Visit www.inmarsat/vor to find out the latest news.