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Weather forces split of Leg 4 to Auckland

 

 

Volvo Ocean Race organisers have split Leg 4 from Sanya to Auckland into two stages and will hold the fleet in Sanya after today's Leg start to allow enough time for dangerous conditions to clear.

 

Race Director Jack Lloyd informed the teams yesterday that Leg 4 would be split for reasons of safety. Forecasts of winds gusting above 40 knots and waves of eight metres prompted the decision, according to Race CEO Knut Frostad.

 

The first stage of Leg 4 will start as scheduled today (1900 NZT) and the boats will complete an inshore course in Sanya Bay. The fleet will then wait until conditions are deemed safe enough for them to sail. The delay will not be for more than 24 hours.

 

The re-start will be staggered, with the boats leaving in the order they finish Stage 1.

 

"It could be that we re-start in the hours of darkness on Monday morning," Lloyd told the teams. "This has been a very, very difficult decision for us which we've waited as long as possible to make so that we make the right one."

 

Leg 4 is due to take the fleet 5,220 nautical miles to Auckland and the fleet was orginally schedule to arrive from Thursday 8 March.

 

"Our Race Village will be open at 0900 on Thursday 8 March," said Auckland Port Director Tom Mayo. "It's an uncertain sport so it's never known exactly when the fleet will arrive. But whatever time or day it is, I'm sure Auckland will lay on the sort of welcome that only Auckland can."

 

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