Team Sanya were still being punished by the Doldrums as they vanished off the public radar under the cloak of the ‘stealth zone’.
At 0140 UTC on Saturday Sanya reached the zone, which is part of a series of security measures implemented by Volvo Ocean Race organisers to combat the threat of piracy.
The team’s exact position will continue to be withheld until they finish at a safe haven port in the Indian Ocean and the remainder of the fleet joins them after being transported by ship through the worst affected waters.
Dark clouds and rain squalls marked the team’s entry into the stealth zone reported Sanya’s Media Crew Member Andres Soriano from on board the yacht this morning.
Soriano said the team endured 20 squalls back-to-back, gaining little rest with each wet and gusty front demanding all hands on deck. But full advantage was taken of the opportunity to have a fresh-water shower Soriano said.
'The showers did cool down everything a bit, and gave all of us the chance to run some fresh water over us for a little rinse off,’’ he said.
'Also the change to drinking cool rain water was more than welcome as well as we filled as many water bottles with it as we could.'
Stand-in skipper Richard Mason reflected on the night’s sailing as he downloaded the day’s weather report at the navigation station today: 'It’s all a bit strange, it’s almost as if last night the squalls propelled us through the worst of the Doldrums, and if that’s the case, then we were lucky.’’
The team are tipped to continue to battle the Doldrums for the next 24-hours, before reaching the welcome relief of a fresh westerly front that promises reaching conditions in winds gusting up to 25 knots.
While the seven sailors on board Sanya are thousands of miles from the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, they are still following racing closely.
Soriano said that the start of the Leg 3 Stage 1 sprint from Abu Dhabi to Sharjah was also an important day for his team.
'It marks a day closer that we get to rejoin the other teams in our race around the world,’’ he said. 'Just as the teams will be pushing to win the sprint we are pushing to win as much time in the safe haven as possible so we can prepare for the next leg.'
* Team Sanya suffered rigging damage and were forced to suspend racing in Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race and head to Madagascar. The Shore team made repairs and Sanya recommenced racing to the Indian Ocean Safe Port.
Sanya could still score points in Leg 2 if they finish in the 'safe haven' port and comply with the race rules. There is no time limit for them to do this. Sixth place, for example, would earn them four points.
Under the race rules, they will also score points for the racing they miss in and out of Abu Dhabi on Legs 2 and 3, and for the In-Port Race. Assuming that they are the only boat in this situation and at some stage they do make it to the safe haven port having complied with the rules, their points breakdown would be as follows:
- Leg 2, Cape Town to Safe Haven 1 -- 4 points for sixth place
- Leg 2, closing sprint into Abu Dhabi -- 1 point for sixth place
- Abu Dhabi In-Port Race -- 2 points, as the average for her performances on the two previous in-port races (fourth in Alicante, sixth in Cape Town)
- Leg 3 Stage 1 -- the corresponding points for her final position on Leg 3. So, if Team Sanya finish first in Stage 2 of Leg 3 into Sanya they would receive the full 30 points. Or 25 for second, 20 for third, 15 for fourth, 10 for fifth and 5 for sixth.
Volvo Ocean Race website