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Volvo Race - Southern Ocean leg awaits

 
The Volvo Ocean Race teams will return to the roots of the race with the classic Southern Ocean leg from Auckland, New Zealand.VOR 2005/06 Ericsson, 50 knots at Cape Horn, Damien Foxall -

With so many points on offer, this classic Southern Ocean leg, a return to the roots of the race, has the potential to be decisive on the leaderboard.

Leg 7 is a double-point scoring leg, with an additional bonus point awarded to the first boat to pass Cape Horn.

MAPFRE is the overall leader following six legs, but after a fourth place finish and late charge to get on the podium on the leg into Auckland, the team’s position at the top doesn’t appear as secure as it was early on.

Re-joining the fleet is Vestas 11th Hour Racing after missing the last two legs with damage sustained in a collision near the end of Leg 4.

The Ice Exclusion Zone for Leg 7 is set very far south, at points diving as deep as the 59-degree south latitude line.

In theory this will shorten the distance the boats need to sail, and speed up the leg.

But it comes at a cost – more bitter cold and towering seas, in wind and waves that circle the planet unimpeded. The challenge isn’t lost on the sailors

Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier can speak first-hand about how challenging this part of the world can be.

“It’s a difficult leg for sure. Sometimes you have to forget the race and take care of the boat and the crew,” he said. “I know this very well. I’ve done this leg twice and never finished with the mast up!"

"And Pascal (Bidégorry) did this leg twice and he’s never made it past Cape Horn!! So that is one of our goals, make it past Cape Horn and finish with the mast up!”

Leg 7 will start at 14:00 local time in Auckland, 01:00 UTC on Sunday, 18 March.

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