The six-boat fleet competing in the Volvo Ocean Race is navigating the most treacherous leg of the round-the-world race as it traverses the volatile Southern Ocean en route from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil.
Two days after leaving New Zealand, the teams were surfing the wake of the former Cyclone Pam, doing 20 knots of average speed and trying to get south before the next high-pressure system catches them.
It’s fast, it’s wet and it’s wild.
Four of the six raceboats suffered big hits as the Southern Ocean gave the fleet its roughest ride of the race in 12 dramatic hours. Three of the boats had “Chinese gybes” on Tuesday, but all of the crews escaped injury, even though the boats briefly tipped onto their sides.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing endured a drama-filled night, reporting a “night of two gybes: a wild one in pitch black with a massive wipeout and then a controlled one at 30 knots,” skipper Ian Walker said.
Although none of the “Chinese gybes,” also known as “death rolls,” in which a boat broaches to windward while turning sharply to leeward, causing an uncontrolled jibe, were captured on camera, here’s an on-board look at one from the 2008-09 Volvo race.