The road to Rio


James Boyd previews leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race
Leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race kicks off on Sunday, taking the boats back into the depths of the Southern Ocean. For crews this is the leg that it is all about - hard running and reaching in strong breeze and some of the world's largest waves - and in years to come they will recount to their grandchild their rounding of the treacherous Cape Horn. At 1300 local time on Sunday (midnight Saturday if you're on GMT), this 6,700 leg will set off from Auckland. Traditionally the Auckland start is one of the highlights of this race with local Aucklanders turning out in force to see the boats off. It was here 12 years ago that the rigging of an anchored spectator yacht snagged the mizzen on Roger Nilson's maxi ketch The Card ripping it off. As there was at the start of leg two there will be some tactics involved as the boats dive south to get back into the strong westerlines of the Southern Ocean, the choices varying between a more southerly route (as News Corp took leaving Cape Town) to get into the westerlies first, or a south easterly route that is closer to the great circle. It is very likely that one of the boats in the mid to low end of the fleet - djuice or SEB in particular - will pull a flier at this stage. For navigators the aim for the Southern Ocean portion of this leg is to get south to Cape Horn at 57degS on the shortest possible course in favourable winds. The toss up is that the great circle takes the boats down to 64degS, or starting further north where the conditions are more favourable. At 64degS the boats would experience icebergs, snow and ice on the deck

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