View the InPort Race at Lorient and the start of Leg 9 to the finish in Galway, Ireland. Racing gets underway in the Bretagne In-Port Race (Saturday at 12h45 CEST/10h45 UTC), with the winner taking six vital points. Less than 24 hours day later the final leg of the 39,000nm race, gets underway.
See the Leg 9 Start (Sunday at 12h45 CEST/10h45 UTC). The short course sprint from Lorient in northwest France to Galway on the west coast of Ireland will only take a couple of days to complete. Crews are not expected to get much sleep, if any at all.
InPort Full Replay
The Celtic Sea, the stretch of water that lies between the Volvo Ocean Race fleet and the overall finish line, is notorious for strong winds and big seas, churned up by the Celtic continental shelf.
On leaving Lorient, the fleet must first sail south, leaving Ile de Groix and Belle Ile, small islands in the Bay of Biscay, to starboard before charging north west towards the next waypoint -- Fastnet Rock.
The iconic landmark, renowned among sailors, is the most southerly point of Ireland, and must be left to port.
Once round the rock, the fleet will likely face strong westerly breeze and huge seas as they pass Blasket Island on the south-west tip of Ireland.
From there it’s a straight run up to the Aran Islands, a set of three islands marking the entrance to Galway bay that boast 200-metre tall cliffs, making the most of the strong currents that accelerate round the many headlands.
Eiragh lighthouse, at the western end of the Aran Islands, must be left to starboard before the fleet turn east and head for the finish line in Galway Bay.
As the scoreboard stands now, Groupama have 219 points and a 23-point lead at the head of the standings over Puma on 196, with Camper just five points further behind in third.
A nightmare for Telefónica on Leg 8, in which they finished fifth after suffering serious breakages, sees them tied on equal points with Camper.
Abu Dhabi have 122 points while Team Sanya have 39.