07 April 2015: Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race was always going to be dramatic, crossing both the Southern Ocean and South Atlantic, plus the lure of rounding Cape Horn inspiring many of the crew to sign up for the epic nine-month adventure.
For Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing it was to be the most memorable to date. Not only were they first to arrive in Itajaí, Brazil from Auckland to claim a second stage victory, the win also helped banish memories of the same disastrous leg three years ago.
In 2012, skipper Ian Walker’s crew were forced to divert into Puerto Montt, Chile, and eventually retire from the leg due to hull damage. This time round it was a very different story and the win now places them at the top of the overall scoreboard, seven points clear of their nearest rival, Dongfeng Race Team.
The 6,770 nautical mile (nm) leg saw some of the most extreme sailing conditions for the boats in the aftermath of tropical Cyclone Pam, as well as hailstorms, icebergs and the notoriously difficult navigation around Cape Horn.
All the action during the last three weeks has been captured and shared with a worldwide audience of race fans via Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity – including live interviews, blogs, videos, photographs, and live filming from Cape Horn using our bonded BGAN HDR service.
Unfortunately for Dongfeng Race Team the leg proved too much when they were forced to retire on 2 April with a broken mast. The Chinese boat is now being sailed to Itajaí, with the help of a motor, where the shore crew must race against time to fit a new mast in time for the start of Leg 6 to Newport, Rhode Island on 19 April.
Team SCA have also endured many problems with damage to three sails and a port rudder break – but the all-girl crew’s determination and endurance will see them finish the leg and sail into the port of Itajaí imminently.
As an official Volvo Ocean Race Partner, the boats are able to rely on Inmarsat’s connectivity not just to tell the story of the race but also for safety, race logistics and crew welfare.
Throughout the Race the fleet will cover 38,739nm and visit 11 ports and every continent, concluding in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 27 June. To find out more and for all the latest updates from the teams, visit www.inmarsat.com/vor.