Volvo Ocean Race in Abudhabi

Volvo Ocean Race abudhabi

Nine month, round the world yacht showdown.

Where? Starts in Alicante and will conclude in Galway, Ireland with stopovers in Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, Cape Horn, Itajai, Miami, Lisbon and Lorient

The Volvo Ocean Race is a grueling trek around the globe between six of the most technologically advanced yachts in the world. But it’s no holiday cruise; teams put up with some of the coldest, windiest and wettest environments on earth, sometimes racing for more than 20 days at a time in hopes of making the top spot at each of the race’s nine legs. There are 11 crew on board each yacht, who must deal with temperatures ranging from a blistering -5C to a faceĀ¬melting 40C – all with just one change of clothes. Each man must trust their lives to the boat and its skipper, all the while dealing with pangs of hunger and the dangers of sleep deprivation.

Smooth sailing

Hours into the first leg of the race to South Africa, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s boat tumbled over a wave and snapped its mast. Later that night, Team Sanya’s craft hit debris that tore a hole in its hull. Then the mast of the Mar Mostro, Puma’s 70-foot carbon sailboat, came crashing down without warning 2,150 nautical miles outside of Cape Town. The Puma team were left with just four days of food, and had to borrow fuel from a passing Greek freighter, contact the Brazilian Navy and navigate to a tiny African island before rescue.

Speed racer

In any race, being quick is key. But up till now, teams have had to measure speed via paddle wheel, an underwater device that gives you woefully inaccurate readings. That’s why Puma and ocean lab Nortek developed the DVL, a sleek, circular device that sits in the boat’s keel, meters under the water. It fires four beams of light, one in each direction, that bounce of matter in the water (plankton, sharks, old boots etc). The DVL measures the positional change of its beams through the water to calculate precisely how fast the yacht is going. It’s currently the not -so-secret weapon in the Mar Mostro’s arsenal.

Swim it to win it

The world’s toughest and longest ocean race is guaranteed to attract a few sailing nuts, and this year’s crew members include Olympic gold medalists, previous world champions and America’s cup winners. There are sailors from 15 nations, including New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland and the UAE.

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