Three of the worlds largest and fastest yachts are in the midst of a non-stop trans-global race, hurtling in excess of 25 knots - 46 kilometres per hour - through the Southern Ocean encircling Antarctica. Iceberg collision is a real risk, but ice-sensitive radar satellites are monitoring the area to provide advance warning to crews.
"It has been a huge tactical – and psychological - advantage to planning our track through the Southern Ocean," says navigator Will Oxley aboard trimaran Doha2006, current leader in the Oryx Quest race. "We have been very cautious with the knowledge of just how much ice is around and just how far north it is."
One million US dollars (€755 000) awaits the winner of the 40 000-kilometre Oryx Quest 2005. Three of the worlds seven multi-hull super-yachts are taking part (a fourth has just been forced out of the race due to structural problems), all of them exceeding 30 metres long and capable of maximum speeds greater than 40 knots (74 kph).
Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
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