Volvo Ocean Race boats skirt pirates, set sail for China

Six Volvo Ocean Race boats set off for China from the Maldives on Sunday, January 22, to complete the second of the race’s three legs. The boats first set sail from Spain in early November 2011.

The boats–allegedly worth several millions of dollars–were brought to the Maldives by an armed ship from the United Arab Emirates in order to avoid the piracy threats of the Indian Ocean. It was the first time in the 38-year-old offshore race’s history that the boats had been shipped, reports Haveeru.

The choice of the Maldives as a safe port was kept secret until Saturday morning. Race staff and team members had previously signed a non-disclosure document to guarantee boats’ security, according to security experts’ advice.

The next leg takes competitors over 3,000 windy and hazardous nautical miles through the Malacca Strait and into the South China Sea. The crews expect to arrive in Sanya, Hainan Province in China next week.

According to local media the boats rankings are currently Telefonica (Spain) 71, Camper (Spain/New Zealand) 64, Groupama (France) 51, Puma (United States) 36, Abu Dhabi 31, and Team Sanya (China) 11.