After departing Boston on the seventh leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, en route to Galway, competitors face cold conditions and a race course that has been deeply contorted to avoid icebergs.
In the 2005-06 event, the ice exclusion zone was a mark set on the island of Newfoundland as there was no ice in the course area, but this year the ice extends approximately 250nm south of Newfoundland.
Unlike the ice in the Southern Ocean, which is uncharted and largely unobserved, the ice in the northern Atlantic is observed by the Canadian and US authorities who overfly the area each day and document the position of the icebergs. In the Southern Ocean, the only surveillance is by satellite where the smallest size recorded is 150 meters.
With ice so far south, it is not surprising that the air and sea temperature is cold. Kit bags have been emptied and extra layers of thermals have been put on in an attempt to keep warm. For Ryan Godfrey on Ericsson 4, it will be a bleak week ahead as his sea boots have already become wet on the inside. “I guess on the upside, a week doesn’t seem like too long at sea anymore,” he said earlier today.