The eight yachts competing in the Volvo Ocean Race around the world departed Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday, Jan. 27, beginning their 6,700-nm slog across the Southern Ocean. Next stop: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Tacking against 15-knot easterlies, the boats worked their way across the Hauraki Gulf before rounding the last mark and gaining open ocean. The vessels engaged in close round-the-buoy-style racing, with four-time Whitbread/Volvo veteran skipper Kevin Shoebridge taking an early lead aboard Tyco.
Once around the buoys, the vessels will take a bearing on Cape Horn, which lies over 5,000 miles to the east. The boats will head southeast, though, to take advantage of the strong winds typical of the depressions that spin around the 65th parallel. The vessels will also be sailing a shorter distance than a simple course east. The race is essentially a circumnavigation of Antarctica, the fleet heading as far south as they dare without getting into an area of significant ice.
Follow progress of the Volvo fleet at www.volvooceanrace.org.