Team Sanya, the first ever sole Chinese entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, spent a sleepless night at sea as they continued to sail cautiously towards the safe haven port to complete Leg 2 and collect valuable overall race points.
Despite encountering strong winds, large ocean swells and stinging salt water spray overnight, the six-strong Sanya crew managed to maintain speeds around 11 knots.
'People can only imagine what its like out here,' commented Dave Swete from the helm at around 0300 last night.
'The waves come out of nowhere, salt is constantly stinging your eyes and all the while your supposed to be in control of this 70 foot machine.
'I don’t think any of my mates I went to school with would understand.'
Team Sanya had to suspend racing in the second leg from Cape Town, South Africa when a key part of their mast’s rigging failed while the team was leading the fleet.
After spotting the problem during a routine sail change Mike Sanderson’s crew were forced to head for the south eastern tip of Madagascar where they were holed up over Christmas while replacement rigging was flown in.
Stand in skipper Richard Mason said the new rig was standing up well to the fresh conditions but the crew were nevertheless adopting a cautious approach to the trip which had initially been threatened by a tropical cyclone.
'The rig is great, but like with anything new, it’s always good to check and make sure everything is happy after a few miles,' he said.
'Overall the boat is in great condition and the cyclone that we were watching has dissipated over Madagascar, although it remains a pretty big low that we will continue to watch with a keen eye.'
Team Sanya are expected to reach the secret safe haven port around January 19 before re-joining the rest of the fleet for the second stage of Leg 3 to their home port in Sanya, China.
Volvo Ocean Race website