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The Volvo Ocean Race - A Rousing Farewell From New Zealand
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The Volvo Ocean Race   -   A Rousing Farewell From New Zealand

The citizens of the City of Sails, Auckland New Zealand and visitors from around the world gathered at the Auckland Stopover Race Village today, March 17th 2012, to wish the six participating boats and their crews Bon Voyage when they set sail for Italjal, Brazil via the infamous Cape Horn.

The race village situated at the Auckland Waterfront Viaduct is where the parties have been continuous since March 8th and includes all kinds of entertainment and attractions for young, old sailors, and non-sailors. The amazing Volvo exhibition of their products alone is enough to keep most adults and kids busy all day.

World Class

The fact that this stopover embraces all spectators and not just the sailing elite is what makes it such a special world class event.

With all the different vantage points available you are right there in the mix where it is all happening or sipping a quiet beer a little further away but still feeling and enjoying the emotional festive vibe of this special occasion.

The Challengers

The six teams sailing this race are 1) Team Telefonica - Spain, 2) Team Sanya - China, 3) Team Abu Dhabi - United Eimirates, 4)Team Puma - USA, 5) Team Groupama – France and the home town yacht 6) Team Camper - New Zealand.

Team Telefonica is the current leader having won two of the four legs already completed. The race will be won on a points system. The winner of a leg gets 30 points; second place gets 25 points and so on with the sixth placed boat scoring 5 points. At each race stop over venue there is one In-Port Place Race where another maximum of six points are up for grabs for a first place win. These bonus points can mean victory or devastating defeat at the completion of leg nine at Galaway Ireland of this around the world toughest ocean race.

High Tech Machines

These boats conform to The Volvo Ocean 70 specific class and but there is plenty of scope for designers and boat builders to have an added impact on each team’s performance during the race. The finishes are always very close and it is quite usual for boats to finish within minutes or a few hours of each other after a long ocean crossing.

The young crews and their skippers are introduced to the crowd before they set off for the in-port race on the Waitamta Harbour. You can only admire the guts and determination it takes to race around the world at breakneck speeds of up to 40 knots while surfing huge 30-40 foot waves on these non-forgiving, awesome, high tech, monohull sailing machines.

Campers Race

Today’s race won by the home yacht Team Camper was an exciting race. After an excellent start by Team Camper and thanks to a few small but critical mistakes by the other yachts, it was with great excitement and loud cheering from the New Zealand supporters that Camper crossed the finish line first. This is a moral boosting win for Team Camper ( their first in the in-port races) coming before the start of leg 5 from New Zealand to Brazil tomorrow afternoon, NZ time. Camper is currently lying in third place andTeam Teleponica from Spain are the current leaders.

There are nine legs that must be completed and this the 5th leg New Zealand to Brazil, could possibly be the hardest.

Worlds Toughest

It's impossible to imagine what it is like to be in contact with eleven other crew members for about three weeks in very spartan conditions and living only on freezer dried food. Constantly wet, freezing cold and being tossed about hour after hour, day after day is what they will have to endure.

Because they are racing for such high stakes only the most highly skilled, competent, mentally tough and very competitively sailors are invited to do the job. Each and every one of these yachtsmen who have done their dues over and over again, have the tremendous honour of being invited to take part in what is considered as toughest race in the world.

Salute

Tomorrow I will drink a very stiff whisky and and with it salute each and everyone one of those brave sailors wishing them a safe and successful journey while sailing to the rumba of a welcoming Brazil . Bon Voyage.


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