The noreaster storm which has been savagely battering the whole of the eastern seaboard of the USA since Sunday is expected to intensify overnight into Tuesday before beginning to weaken through the day tomorrow. Race organizers and the sailors felt that a start on Wednesday morning offers the best solution to guarantee the safety of the fleet and allow the competitors to get away as soon as possible from Norfolk.
However, the start is still expected to take place in a strong northerly wind with large seas, and event organizers in Norfolk are therefore advising spectators not to go out on the water to watch the yachts depart for Europe. With the start gun set to fire at 10:00, the boats will leave their home in downtown Norfolk in the early hours of the morning before heading up the Elizabeth River to the line, which will be positioned in open water off the Virginian coast.
With the fleet itching to get underway, Wednesday morning cannot come quick enough for the solo sailors. The postponed start has also played into the hands of Graham DALTON (NZL), who is now less than 1,000 miles from the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. The Kiwi skipper is expected to arrive on Friday, within race rules, and set off for Bilbao after a required 72 hour stop over.
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the longest race for any individual in any sport. Over the first few days, the fleet will make their way along the northern coast of Spain to Cape Finistère where they will turn south towards the Southern Ocean. However, all of the skippers know that this race is a marathon and not a sprint. During the 30,000 miles sailed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race, the yachts will encounter some of the most extreme sea and weather conditions on the planet.
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