27 March 2015

Volvo Ocean Race's fleet have 'found Nemo!'

Photo: Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA / Volvo Ocean Race
Volvo Ocean Race's fleet passed over Point Nemo on Wednesday - the furthest from land you can get when at sea - on the day that a new ice limit was introduced by organisers to keep the boats clear of a large iceberg that was drifting towards the path of the fleet.

Point Nemo isn't an actual 'point' as there's no land there; it's just a spot in the ocean that happens to be 2,688 kms from the nearest land (Ducie Island, part of the Pitcairn Islands). In Latin, 'Nemo' translates as 'no man'.

Leg 5, which routes the fleet through the Southern Ocean on a 6,776-nautical mile stage from Auckland to Italai in Brazil, has kept the race advisers particularly busy.

The race is using the services of a Toulouse-based company, CLS, to advise on the placing of the ice limits. CLS uses a lot of different data and up to four satellites to 'scan the sea surface for icebergs. So far, they have detected about 20 icebergs - the largest so far has been one-kilometre long.

To get a feel for what it's really like to drive one of these boats in the Southern Ocean just read and watch this interview with Gordon Maguire, a helmsman with News Corp in the eight edition of the race in 2001-02.