As the third leg of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race comes to a close, we look back over a leg where VOR history was made, but not without its trials as it has been described my many as the “most stressful leg of my life.”
6 out of the 7 competing teams left from Abu Dhabi at the beginning of 2015, making their way across the Indian Ocean from the UAE to Sanya, China. Team Vestas Wind were unable to take part following their collision near Mauritius at the end of November which has seen them temporarily out of the race.
Despite being the shortest leg, the third stage was certainly not an easy feat for the competitors, who used all of their experience and skill to navigate through some of the toughest oceans. The teams faced heavy fog as they set sail from Abu Dhabi making their way through the Arabian Sea and towards the Southern tip of India. From here, the competitors sailed through the notorious Bay of Bengal and onto the Malacca Strait, one of the largest areas for shipping in the world – plenty of obstacles to keep the sailors occupied!
The top 4 teams kept close to one another, with the Chinese team Dongfeng leading the pack for almost the entire leg, and the others following suit when tough navigational decisions had to be made. Tactics became limited for the competitors as they reached the home stretch from Sri Lanka, with speed playing a key factor in the approach to leg 3's finish and the tricky unlit fishing boats which were encountered along the Vietnamese coast. Despite it being very close between the top 4 competitors, it was the Chinese team who sailed to victory, welcomed by their home nation and making history.
With a first time in 41 year history win, team Dongfeng have now taken top position on the leader board with their second place finishes in the first two legs which put them in an excellent position for leg 3; with a win under their belt, the Chinese team are sure to have great momentum in the run up to leg 4.
As for Team Vestas Wind, their boat has made the journey from sunny Mauritius to the snowy mountains of Genoa, Italy where it is now on dry land ready for repairs - the team have high hopes to be rejoining the race.
All remaining teams will reside in Sanya until 8th February 2015 where leg 4 will commence, seeing the sailors make their way to the City of Sails, more commonly known as Auckland, New Zealand. We wish them all good luck for their fourth leg of the race and are excited to see what develops!
Keep up to date with the Volvo Ocean Race Site.