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VIDEO: The fleet takes a piracy detour

Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirtates, to Sanya, China, was split into two stages to protect the fleet from pirates in the Indian Ocean. The half-dozen Volvo Open 70s left the Maldives Sunday in the second stage of the 3,051-nautical-mile leg to Sanya.

The teams raced from Abu Dhabi to Sharjah in the northern Emirates in the first stage of the leg. They were loaded aboard an armed transport ship that began the passage to a secret safe port — Malé, the capital of the Maldives — on Jan. 16, arriving Jan 21.

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The destination was kept secret until Saturday, and each team had to sign a non-disclosure document. Leg 2, from Cape Town, South Africa, to Abu Dhabi, also was sailed in two legs, with the stopover in Malé and transport to Sharjah.

The Volvo Ocean Race started in November and covers 39,000 nautical miles in nine legs. The U.S. Puma Ocean Racing team held a slight lead over Camper/Emirates Team New Zealand on the third day of Leg 3’s second stage. Puma is in fourth place overall.

The race ends in July in Galway, Ireland.