With the City of Sails as the backdrop, the incredible spectacle that is The Volvo Ocean Race began leg seven of the fleet’s around the world journey. This is the longest leg of the race, beginning in Auckland, and finishing in Brazil. The Volvo (formerly known as the Whitbread) is the world’s longest running global racing challenge, beginning in 1973, and taking place every three years hence. Kiwis are some of the keenest sailors in the world, with a long history of participating in this series. New Zealand’s own, the late, Sir Peter Blake, has god-like status here. He was a past skipper, and race winner, who’s winning yacht, Steinlagar 2, still resides in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbor. A number of Kiwis are crewing onboard this year’s Volvo fleet, and once we were out on the water for the start of leg seven, it felt like every person who owned a boat in New Zealand was out there with us.
Winds were strong and so were the fleet's seven yachts. These boats are more like high-tech, floating spacecraft, and the day’s conditions offered a nice opportunity for the fleet to perform at their best for the massive crowds gathered both on shore and on the water. Art and I were on board the large, high-powered, Doyle Sails RIB, with Matt Bridge at the helm, and this was not a ride for the timid. With hundreds of watercraft crowding the harbor, and chasing after the race fleet, the chop was significant and unruly. Every type and shape of boat was all around us, from tiny RIBs all the way up to mega-motor yachts. Press boats, race officials, the local coast guard, the harbor police—you name it—they were there. The sky above was a buzzing hive of helicopters—the noise! Through all of this chaos, Art managed to grab some impressive shots of the race from his perch in the RIB’s bouncing, rolling, and pitching bow. We’ve put together a small collection of the best shots of the day—enjoy! We are Feeling’ Good!