The five strong Volvo Ocean Race fleet were safely loaded onto a ship in Sharjah on Sunday following strong desert winds which had earlier caused a delay. The fleet arrived in the port late last night at the end of the opening stage of Leg 3, a high adrenaline 106 nautical mile, six and a half hour blast from Abu Dhabi, won by Ian Walker’s home team on Azzam, their second victory in two days.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand is unloaded ready for the restart of stage 2 of leg 2 to Abu Dhabi - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
The fleet docked in the port overnight ahead of a planned early start to the loading process today. This morning however the strong Shamal winds which had given the boats such a fast run from Abu Dhabi had intensified, making loading the boats too dangerous.
With winds moderating around lunchtime race director Jack Lloyd gave the green light for the process to begin and by 1000 UTC Camper was safely on the cradle.
Telefónica was next aboard, followed by Abu Dhabi's Azzam, Puma's Mar Mostro and Groupama 4. 'Once it was underway, the whole process passed off without a hitch,' said Race Director Jack Lloyd, who oversaw the loading. Now they are safely on the ship, they can be transported to an unloading port in the Indian Ocean to complete Leg 3 with the long second stage to the Chinese port of Sanya.
The shipping is being undertaken as part of a series of measures to counter piracy in the region.
Volvo Ocean Race website