Right off the Melbourne waterfront at Station Pier, the start line for leg three of the Volvo Ocean Race will allow the six remaining boats to line up in front of a huge spectator fleet as well as thousands on shore.
Once the gun goes the boats head due south to a gate between two blue buoys, then to a mark at Mornington, and then via another Volvo marker to the exit from Port Phillip Bay. From there, it is the Bass Strait, the Tasman Sea and the Cook Strait before going through into Wellington Harbour and up to a finish line between the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club and a buoy off the dockside almost due north.
There is the option to keep the boats inside Port Phillip Bay with some supplementary buoys if light winds mean that they might not get through the strong tide at the entrance to Melbourne's massive bay, but it looks unlikely these contingencies will be required.
Today Grant WHARRINGTON (AUS) at last made his long expected announcement that Brunel will not be sailing again until she has undergone significant modification, probably not until Baltimore and Annapolis in the USA.
|Brunel are skipping the next
couple of legs to regroup
© Oskar KIHLBORG
'It's an unusual approach, that's for sure, but there is nothing in the rules that precludes us from doing this. We just have to comply with all the rules and pay another entry fee. We are confident that we can be much more competitive and are looking forward to getting to Baltimore looking quite different.'
For the rest of the boats there is a 1,400 nautical mile leg in front of them which looks like being a fast sail, but with some interesting tactics.
Wellington is a Pit Stop, just a short stop, and all the boats will re-start to head to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil via Cape Horn on Sunday 19 February at 1300 - unless they have had to use outside assistance for any repairs or replacements, in which case a two hour penalty is incurred.
To take a look at the likely weather for leg three CLICK HERE.
ABN AMRO ONE
ABN AMRO TWO
Ericsson Racing Team
Pirates of the Caribbean
(Up to and including Leg 3 In Port race)
|1||ABN AMRO ONE||NED||Mike SANDERSON (NZL)||32.5|
|2||ABN AMRO TWO||NED||Sebastien JOSSE (FRA)||25|
|3||movistar||ESP||Bouwe BEKKING (NED)||18|
|4||Pirates of the Caribbean||USA||Paul CAYARD (USA)||16.5|
|5||Brasil 1||BRA||Torben GRAEL (BRA)||16|
|6||Ericsson Racing Team||SWE||Neal MCDONALD (GBR)||14.5|
|7||Brunel||AUS||Grant WHARINGTON (AUS)||11.5|
For a complete list of all the news about the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 CLICK HERE.