Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo boats dodge 'black tide'

2012-02-22 16:05
Roberto Bermudez De Castro, from Spain, works the grinding winch onboard Camper with Emirates Team NZ (AP)

Sanya, China - Camper led the Volvo Ocean Race fleet through the dangerous "black tide" current of the South China Sea on Wednesday, as the six teams made painful progress on the fourth leg to New Zealand.

The Camper boat, crewed by Team New Zealand, led Chinese Team Sanya by 5.6 nautical miles at 10:00 GMT as the boats headed east, banking on stronger breeze to get them out of the appalling sea conditions as quickly as possible.

Abu Dhabi were third, followed by French team Groupama, overall leaders Telefonica of Spain and US-based Puma in sixth.

Once they hit the Philippine Sea, they will be able to turn towards Auckland but for now the skippers are just trying to keep the boats in one piece.

Sailing through the Kuroshio current, known to sailors in the race as the "black tide" and responsible for big waves and even bigger crash landings, has long been dangerous.

"It looks like we will have more boat-breaking conditions as we reach the Taiwanese coast so we will have to tread very carefully," Camper skipper Chris Nicholson said from the boat on Wednesday.

"The landings on the waves are severe... the boat and crew are doing well but there are a couple of tricky days ahead."

Race organisers held the boats back in Sanya for over 12 hours at the start of the leg in a bid to avoid the worst of the weather and the teams were grateful not to be facing even worse conditions.

"Right now we have to get out of the South China Sea," said Abu Dhabi's British skipper Ian Walker. "It is a god-awful place. I am just glad we are not coming through here in 40 knots, which we easily could have been."

The teams are scheduled to finish the leg around March 8, though the delay at the start and the current conditions could push back their arrival into Auckland by several days.

The nine-leg Volvo Ocean race 2011-12 finishes in Galway, Ireland, in July.

Read more on:    volvo ocean race
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

Assuming AB de Villiers is over his elbow injury, who should skipper the Proteas in their Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.