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Boats to be protected from pirates by armed guards

Volvo Ocean Race boats will be loaded onto a ship and protected by armed guards when they pass through the pirate-filled waters off the East African coast, organizers said Thursday.

The Volvo 70 bluewater racing yachts, worth millions of dollars, will be picked up by a heavy lift ship in an undisclosed "safe haven port" in the Indian Ocean during the second leg, which starts Sunday in Cape Town, South Africa.

Unveiling their "antipiracy plan," race officials said the yachts will be transported to a second starting point near Sharjah for the leg's final run to Abu Dhabi so crews are not exposed to the dangerous channel off Somalia.

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