We wrote about the first ever, all-women's team competing in the race (Team SCA) as they had just left Alicante, Spain for the first leg of the journey heading towards Cape Town, South Africa. Now we take a look at what the teams have had to face going into the second leg, which sees the teams making their way from Cape Town, South Africa to Abu Dhabi, UAE.
At the beginning of November, an iceberg warning was issued to all teams, causing concern about the safety of the sailors. Reports state that some visible icebergs detected were up to 300 metres long and therefore posed a large risk to the contestants; not to mention icebergs below the surface which can prove to be deadly. The boats used in the Volvo Ocean Race have been built to be durable, but if there's one thing a sailor is most afraid of, it's an Iceberg – and it wouldn't take much to sink a boat like the one the teams have been sailing!
Race organisers and the sailors themselves use satellite technology to scan the ocean’s surface, yet icebergs don't always show up on the system and therefore caution and prevention became a priority. An exclusion zone was imposed by race official and penalties were to be given for those entering this safety zone. Despite this possibly being a frustrating imposition for the competitors, we're sure none of them wanted to be facing collision with a berg.
Fast forward to November and reports show that the competitors are once again feeling the wrath of Mother Nature – this time in the form of a tropical depression forming right in the middle of the route to Abu Dhabi. This depression will soon become a fully formed Tropical Storm and this again poses a safety risk for the competitors, with high winds and waves up to 6/7 metres high. It seems that there are two options for the teams: take the slow but safe route, or be brave and take the fast route to ride on the wind and take on the waves.
Sadly, one team have already come across disaster as December drew near – in the early hours of Sunday 30th November, Team Vesta Winds were forced to abandon their boat after colliding with a reef in Cargados Carajos Shoals, Mauritius. The nine members of the Danish team were rescued after spending several hours on their broken boat which had become stuck fast on the reef, breaking the rudders and then further damaged was caused by strong waves beating at the stern. Fortunately, each crew member was safely rescued and there were no injuries caused in the collision, yet the team are described to be feeling both emotional and shattered by the experience.
We hope that Team Vesta Winds will be back on course in no time and we're sure to be keeping a close eye on how the second leg develops – good luck!
Check out our article on Team SCA here.