Sailing into the Unknown - Volvo Ocean Race leg 3 to start


The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is set to sail into the unknown on Saturday when leg three starts from Cochin, India. The finish line is off Singapore, and the fleet is expected to take just over a week to get there.

Following the first ever stopover for the race in Asia, the eight teams are preparing to tackle what is expected to be a light, fluky, upwind leg, with plenty of potential pitfalls along the way.


Leg three is the shortest so far in the race - at 1,950 nautical miles - and takes the fleet around the southern tip of India and west into the Straits of Malacca, which ranks amongst the busiest shipping channels in the world. As much of the route straddles the equator, light, changeable conditions are expected for much of the leg.


"It's going to be a tough leg, with more upwind than in previous legs, and a lot of hazards along the way, so I think it will be quite exciting," said Torben Grael, the skipper of the race leading Ericsson 4. "There will be a lot of challenges and it could be decided by luck or a cloud."


"I have a feeling that we really don't have any idea as to what might happen," agreed Ian Walker, the skipper of Green Dragon. "I wouldn't make any predictions on this leg; we just have to get on it."

In addition to the commercial shipping hazard, large fishing fleets made up of small, local boats could prove difficult to avoid, while piracy remains a threat on this leg as well. Conditions on board will be extremely uncomfortable, as the equatorial heat and humidity takes its toll on the crews.


For all that, at the skippers' press conference on Friday, many of the sailors spoke of how much they have enjoyed their brief time in Cochin, a place that few professional sailors expected to encounter in their careers.

"It's clear that India has taken in this race with open arms and the race has taken India in with open arms," enthused PUMA skipper Ken Read. "It's been a wonderful experience here. I think we were all looking forward to it on the one hand but felt slight trepidation on the other hand because we're venturing into the unknown. But so far, it's proved to all involved that this could be one of the best decisions ever made in boat racing to bring the race to this part of the world."


The race start for leg three is scheduled for 1530 local time in Cochin (1000 GMT) and will follow a Parade of Sail as well as a ‘Ceremonial Start' (at 1400 local) which will take place in the channel alongside the Race Village. Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to gather along the river banks and in the Race Village itself to send the fleet off to Singapore.


There will be live audio commentary of the start on, starting at 1515, local time (0945 GMT) as well as a start blog featuring written commentary and photos from the build-up to the start.


Portsmouth, UK - DD Month 2008 --  Standfirst 


For the latest news, positions, feature stories, images and video, please visit 

For media information on the Volvo Ocean Race, please contact:

Lizzie (Green) Ward - Senior Race Press Officer (Race HQ - UK)
Tel: +44 1489 554 832: Mob: +44 7801 185 320


Sophie Luther - International Press Officer (English)
Mob: +44 7595 116 797


Beatriz Pastor - Media Relations Manager (English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese)
Mob: +44 7590 711 715



Full press information can be read and downloaded from:


High resolution images can be downloaded from:

Tim Stonton, Picture Desk Manager Email:

Tel: +44 1489 554 867 Mob: +44 7816 975 355


For broadcast-standard video, please go to: 
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For all radio reports/interviews audio requests, please contact:
Guy Swindells (English)
Mob: +44 7710 295 995, Email: or
Amanda Blackley (English, Spanish and French)
Mob: +44 7548 543 215, Email:


For media accreditation, please go to


To receive the latest positions and breaking news on your mobile, text "RACE" to +46 737 49 49 49.


To see the latest race videos, visit


About the Volvo Ocean Race

  • The Volvo Ocean Race is the ultimate mix of world class sporting competition and on-the-edge adventure, with a tradition dating back 35 years.
  • Eight international teams of 10 sailors, plus one dedicated media crew member, are competing in 10 offshore legs, along with seven in-port races. Scoring points are accumulated through each stage of the race to determine the overall winner.
  • The 2008-09 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race started in Alicante, Spain on 11 October 2008 and is scheduled to finish in St. Petersburg on 20 June 2009, following a 37000 nautical mile lap of the planet.
  • For the first time, the race is visiting Asia, with stopovers in Cochin, India, Singapore, and Qingdao, China.
  • Full race schedule:

o Alicante, Spain - Start: 11.10.08
o Cape Town, South Africa - Re-start: 15.11.08
o Cochin, India - Re-start: 13.12.08
o Singapore - Re-start: 18.01.09
o Qingdao, China - Re-start: 14.02.09
o Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Re-start: 11.04.09
o Boston, USA - Re-start: 16.05.09
o Galway, Ireland - Re-start: 06.06.09
o Goteborg/Marstrand, Sweden - Re-start: 14.06.09
o Stockholm, Sweden - Re-start:25.06.09
o St. Petersburg, Russia - ETA for finish: 27.06.09

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