• 20-MAR-2015

Surfing the tail of ex-cyclone Pam: a speedy, bumpy Leg 5 start

Aftermath of Cyclone Pam leads to a very rocky ride, an introduction to more testing time ahead

Volvo Ocean Race's six-strong fleet caught up with ex-Cyclone Pam's winds as they raced through the South Pacific Ocean. And most of the sailors did not particularly enjoy the experience. The conditions after New Zealand's East Cape didn't make for comfortable sailing with 30 knots of wind (56 kilometres per hour) and a very rough sea state (up to six-metre waves).

They have avoided by far the worst of ex-Cyclone Pam, which caused such devastation the previous week and led to at least 13 deaths on the archipelago of Vanuatu. That weather system also led to a three-day delay in the departure of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet from Auckland on Wednesday before the 6,776-nautical mile journey to Itajaí in southeast Brazil.

Nevertheless, the sailors could still feel its remnants, experiencing a wild ride early on Day 3 of this iconic Leg 5.

All onboard are hardened professional offshore athletes, but many have reported severe bouts of seasickness as they sped through towards the Southern Ocean.

Amory Ross (USA), Onboard Reporter for first-placed Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), gave a graphic description of the life on the boat in his blog on Thursday.

"Even in her subdued state, 'former' Cyclone Pam is packing one heck of a punch," he wrote. "I'd be lying if I said our enthusiasm for getting out here is unchanged. Now that we're actually here, everyone's either green or exhausted and often both. The sea state is really confused and it makes doing anything abnormally difficult."

Third overall, Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) are hot on the tail of the American-Turkish boat just 5.3nm ahead.


  • Marie Laurens
    Volvo Ocean Race News Distribution Manager