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Miami Send Off

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leads the pre-start laps. Next stop Lisbon.

May 21, 2012
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Sailing World

Stream Defined

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing cross into the gulfstream, at the start of leg 7 from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race) Volvo Ocean Race/Paul Todd

By the time the six-strong Volvo Ocean Race fleet hooks into the pressure feeding into Tropical Storm Alberto, winding up off Cape Hatteras, the crews will have long forgotten the torture of the light-air laps they had to endure off Miami’s South Beach before rounding the final race mark and making a beeline for the northbound Gulf Stream—the same river that launched Team Abu Dhabi into the lead early on in today’s Leg 7 send off to Portugal. As they did in Saturday’s In-Port Race, Ian Walker and crew owned the send-off laps, wire to wire, dodging in and out of windless holes, dipping into the stronger offshore current when they needed to, fending off Groupama in the rear-view mirror all the way around. Estimates are for a 10-to 11-day leg—that’s at least what most teams were packing food for—and with the tropical storm to hook into, their routes should allow them to not have to head too far north.

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