The ships racing in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race hit a major milestone yesterday when they crossed the equator and returned to the Northern Hemisphere for the final time. From here on out, all of the racing will take place above that geographical line as they sail headlong towards the eventual finish line in at The Hague in Europe.
Right now however, the fleet has a different destination in mind. They’ve set their sights on reaching the next port at they finish off the current leg, which terminates at the race’s one and only stop in North America. The teams are expected too start arriving in Newport, Rhode Island in the U.S. early next week where they will be greeted by tens of thousands of fans. The stopover will last a couple of weeks, before the teams return to the ocean on May 20.
After the in-port activities in Newport, the race will turn east for stage 9, which will cover 3300 nautical miles (3797 miles/6111 km) across the Atlantic before ending in Cardiff, Wales. After that, just two stages will remain, with the ships estimated to reach The Hague sometime around June 24.
At this point, it is hard to believe that the race is approaching its end. Yes, there is still more than a month a half to go before it is through, but considering it got underway back in October in Alicante, Spain, we’ve come a long way since then. Over the course of the past few months, the teams have all experienced triumph and tragedy, been tested on four of the world’s oceans, and have pushed themselves to their absolute limits. The two stages that took place in the Southern Ocean alone were enough to try even the toughest and most dedicated crews.
Of course, there is still a lot of racing to be done, and as the ships sail towards Newport the current stage is still up for grabs. Currently, Team Brunel leads the way, with Dongfeng Race Team, and Turn the Tide on Plastic in hot pursuit off the coast of northern South America. On this particular leg of the race, none of the teams are truly out of contention, as the entire fleet is close to one another and within easy striking distance. That should lead to a fantastic finish in the days ahead.
Follow along with all of the action at the Volvo Ocean Race website.
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