Volvo Ocean Race fleet leaves Hong Kong for a 6,100-mile race to Auckland, New Zealand, with portuguese sailor Bernardo Freitas.

With a Tropical Cyclone forecast to produce heavy sea conditions, race officials have added a Tropical Storm Exclusion Zone, extending across 20 degrees of longitude to the east of the Philippines.

“It’s predominantly upwind, so it’s going to be a tough first few days,” said Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari.

Most weather routing software suggests the fastest route is to the north and east of the exclusion zone but this will ensure the fleet avoids the worst of the sea conditions.

Leg of the Volvo Ocean Race will take the fleet through the Luzon Strait and then on an easterly heading before the boats dive south through the Doldrums and then southeast to the northern tip of New Zealand.

 

Photo credits: Ainhoa Sanchez and Jen Edney /VOR