Ocean racers to take on Southern Ocean

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The second sprint of the Velux 5 Oceans solo round-the-world yacht race got under way Thursday from Cape Town, bound for Wellington in New Zealand.

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With the iconic Table Mountain providing a stunning backdrop, the fleet of five international ocean racers crossed the start line beginning a grueling 7,000-nautical-mile sprint across the Southern Ocean through some of the worst weather conditions known to mariners.

The original start of the second ocean sprint had been planned for Sunday, but it was postponed because of gale-force winds and huge seas off the coast of South Africa. The race committee monitored the weather forecasts until they felt there was a suitable window in the weather to allow for a safe race start.

The fleet set sail from Cape Town in their 60-foot Eco 60 yachts in around 15 knots of breeze from the South East.

Canada's Derek Hatfield on Active House was the first to cross the line with a strong start that will make up for his poor start in La Rochelle. He led the five impressive ocean racing yachts out of Table Bay and into open water, where the wind dropped considerably in the shadow of the mountain. Tactics will now come into play with all five skippers trying to find some breeze to take them on.

The first sprint winner, Brad Van Liew on Le Pingouin (pictured) followed Hatfield over the line.

"I'm just going to go out there, sail my boat and try to stay safe," Van Liew said. "Safety is the key to this leg. I'm very competitive by nature so I will just see what happens once I'm there."

Click here to track the racers.