Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team are the first of the Volvo Ocean Race crews to have their position cloaked after entering the ‘stealth zone’.
The French team, currently leading the fleet after 11 days of racing in the second leg from Cape Town in South Africa to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, had crossed into the stealth zone by the 1300 UTC position update, 76nm ahead of their nearest rivals PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG.
PUMA, Team Telefónica and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand were all expected to enter the stealth zone later today. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were around 170nm shy of the zone at 1300 UTC.
The stealth zone is part of a series of security measures implemented by race organisers because of the threat of pirates operating in a vast area off the coast of Somalia.
The boats are currently heading towards a ‘safe haven’ port in the Indian Ocean where they will be loaded onto a ship for transportation through the worst affected waters to a point on the northern coast of the United Arab Emirates.
Once there the fleet will be unloaded and they will resume racing to Abu Dhabi, the first Middle Eastern stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race’s 38-year history.
To reduce the risk of piracy the exact location of the safe haven is being kept secret – hence the stealth zone.
Once into the stealth zone, which covers an area of the Indian Ocean from the northern tip of Madagascar to the United Arab Emirates, the positions of the teams will be hidden to the outside world.
While the fleet is in the stealth zone, race fans will still be able to follow the teams’ progress relative to each other via the official website race tracker, although individual boats’ headings will be distorted and the weather layer will be disabled.
Media Crew Members will send back multimedia content as normal and the race editorial team will continue to post stories on the website every day.
The race app will not display any information other than the ranking while the boats are in the Stealth Zone in the first stage of Leg 2 and the second stage of Leg 3 but will function normally for the sprint sections in and out of Abu Dhabi.