A massive one kilometre-wide iceberg has forced the Volvo Ocean Race to change the positioning of their ice gates to keep the fleet clear of trouble in the Southern Ocean on Leg 5 from New Zealand to Brazil, says a Reuters report.
The berg was heading towards the path of the six-strong fleet, so organizers and their advisers, French company CLS and Dutch weather expert Marcel van Triest, opted late on Thursday night to move the current ice limit route further to the north.
The main iceberg is not the only concern. Growlers – pieces of ice that have broken away and float semi-submerged in the icy cold water – are also a major threat to the fleet.
The race has pre-set ice gates, or ice limits, on this leg to keep the fleet clear from icebergs. Race management can change them according to conditions as the leg unfolds. Boats will be penalized if they sail over these boundaries towards hazardous areas.
The fleet had already been delayed three days in the previous port of Auckland, New Zealand, to avoid the worst of Cyclone Pam, which has claimed at least 16 lives in the South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu.
The boats have been cruising through the South Pacific and out into the Southern Ocean at a consistent 20 knots thanks to the effect from the aftermath of Cyclone Pam.
The six boats nevertheless made the most of high winds on the tail of the cyclone after setting off last Wednesday, and made quicker progress through the South Pacific than